Seemed to Take Forever!

A while back – it was January, I think – I mentioned I’d ordered a booklet on altering bodices. It was one of those things that seemed to be taking a long time getting to me, so I went online and looked up the tracking number to see when I had ordered it. It had been about a month at this point. I thought it should have arrived by now.

What I found surprised me. That little packet had made it all the way from Australia to my little town in Alberta, Canada, but didn’t make it to me! I could hardly believe the label fell off while it was on its way to being delivered to my door. It made it to the post office, was out for delivery and then the next thing on the detail list from the tracking number was it had been sent to the Undeliverable Mail Office. Maybe I should call that bag of bras that don’t fit The Undeliverable Bra Bag.

What a run around! I spoke to one woman in the post office and she took all the information I had like my name, address, the tracking number, the sender’s name and address too,  and at the end of the call said for me to stay home the next day – the parcel would be delivered then. Well, that day came and went, and I waited, but no one came to my door. I called the post office again.

The next person I spoke to was most unhelpful. She could not give a straight answer no matter what I asked her. I might get the parcel in a month, but there was no guarantee. That, definitely, without a doubt or hesitation, was a very frustrating phone call, and nothing resulted from it.

I think a weekend came at this point and I had to wait a few days before I could call again. The person I spoke with took all my information (again), and this time was very helpful. She assured me I had given enough information, and with the tracking information, was the person who was supposed to receive that package. Whew. I was told it would be on its way to me.

During all of this, I was in contact with the sender and author of the booklet. She was as anxious as I was for this parcel to be delivered. I’d shared every false-positive start I’d had.  We were both in waiting mode at this point.

The next I heard from the post office was a lovely official letter telling me that as the addressee I had no authority to start an investigation as to the whereabouts of this parcel! So, I contacted the post office again, but this time to ask why all the run around. Why was I being asked for information, providing it, being told that was enough, and then being told it wasn’t, later, in a letter. They apologized profusely at this point, and told me what information the sender needed to include to start an investigation from her post office in Australia.

All I can say is, 38 emails and 5 or 6 phone calls, a letter, and three months later, I got my parcel. The envelope it was in was pristine! Not a mark or tear on it; no label either. Somehow, that had gotten lost.


But here it is now, on my desk. Now to finish that bodice sloper and get started on some fun projects in here!

And lastly, a bit a teaser. I’ve been playing with some lace placement.

playing with lace 1

I bought this lace from Margreet’s eBay store, Merckwaerdigh. She has so many beautiful lingerie sets and laces.

playing with lace 2

This may not show wonderfully, but this is the bridge. More pictures to come soon. Happy Creating!

A Few Accomplishments!

My husband and I went away last week for our 22nd anniversary. We found a wonderful deal at Christmas time and bought it and put it away for ourselves. We only live 4 hours from the Rocky Mountains, and it’s our favorite vacation spot. Our suite had a tremendous view! Just look at this:

View from Windtower Rm 234

This was the view from the kitchen patio door. I could just sit and look out at that. We spent 4 days with that view, and although there was still snow on the ground, and we even woke up to snow one morning, it was still perfect!

I took a few projects on my trip that I wanted to complete while I was there. One project was to complete the measurements for a bodice sloper. That’s not a big deal, but for some reason those last few measurements just weren’t getting done. They’re done now, so I can work on that.

Another project was fingerless gloves. I was determined to get them done. (I know, Andrea, it’s a bit late in the season.) I’d looked at many patterns, and finally settled on one I found on Ravelry. These are based on the Vanilla Frappe Fingerless Gloves. You can find the pattern here.

I really liked the ‘body’ part of this pattern, and decided to do just that, with a scallop border on the top and bottom. The body is knit; I crocheted the borders, so mine look different than the originals, but I’m happy with them.

fingerless glove 2

I’ve sewn one, and one waiting to be sewn up.

fingerless glove 1

The ball of white yarn is to do some flowers or hearts or some type of embellishment.

So two projects done. I also took my sewing kit to tighten a button on my coat, but that’s still on my to-do list.

And when I got back I had one more accomplishment!

I worked on another bra. I knew the area that needed work – the bridge – so I tackled that as soon as I got home. And another success! I have the best fit I’ve tried for yet! Let me tell you, if you’ve never had a properly fitting bra – one where the bridge goes all the way back to the chest wall – well, it’s a different feeling. I’ve never felt that. It’s not uncomfortable, but it is different for me.

plunge bra prototype

When I started this bra, I have to admit, I wasn’t feeling super encouraged. It feels like there have been too many challenges along the way that left me unhopeful. I even skipped some of the little finishing details on this bra – finishing details that made it onto all the other attempts I’d made. However, this one only needs minor tweaking. That has me excited!

One of those minor tweaks? The bridge can still come up about 1/4″. But that’s it’s. So now I need to look at plunge styles. I haven’t seen a lot of patterns for plunge bras. Does anyone know of any?

For this bra, I took my Sewy Rebecca pattern and made it into a Classic pattern. I also straightened the lower edge of the upper cup to get the most lift. I decided not to do a three or four piece cup on this so it would sew up more quickly, and also I don’t see a lot of plunge bras that have those features. So, once I had a basic Classic pattern, I used my trusty Bra Makers Manual to change the cup shape to a plunge style, or ‘fake’ demi style.

plunge back 2

A very basic back, with the Prima Donna U-shaped back. I don’t think they’re the only ones doing this now, but I do remember them advertising this feature.

So a few little glitches I ran into while sewing this? You can see in the above picture that the back band is a bit smaller than the hook and eye closures. That’s a small adjustment. You can see it better here:

plunge back

That’s not a big deal – just a small tweak.

Another small tweak is the lower cup. I still have to make adjustments for the Omega shape, and need to fit a larger cup into a smaller wire. On this bra, (again) I didn’t put a lot of effort into it. So when it came time to fit the cup, I simply put a fold in the lower cup’s material. The cup still fits fine, and the seam line fit as well. I have altered the pattern with a dart to take out that excess on the next one I do.

plunge bra dart

You can see the tuck here. It shows more here than when I’m wearing it.

Bow to cover seam

Lastly, a tweak to make is my order of sewing if I do this style again. On this bra I had the cups sewn into the cradle and then looked and I still had to add the neckline trim. On a style like this, I think it would be better to do that before putting the cups into the bra. It works fine, but would be neater sewn the other way.

So, I’m very happy to say I’ve had SUCCESS! It feels really good to know I’m there with just a few minor tweaks now. Whew! I said a long time ago that I hoped my journey would encourage someone else not to give up! How long has it taken me?

Here’s to happy & successful creating!



Will It Ever Stop Snowing? And Other Greats!

I saw a cute video by Rick Mercer, a Canadian comedian, which depicts how I feel so well:

Yes, that is the sad state many Canadians are in right now. We’re just hoping for warmer weather, and … well, it’s snowing right now. Sigh. So much for the calendar saying Spring.

I’ll happily stay indoors today and work on my pattern, right? Sigh, the pattern. Okay, I’m going to focus on the positives and deal with the challenges next.

I got the short wires from Bra Makers Supply. I’m was hoping for the same length on the side, and shorter at the front to accommodate the lower bridge. Great! But nope, those didn’t work the way I wanted them to – too short on the side. I think I still want the Vertical wires, I’ll follow Amy’s suggestions on her blog (Cloth Habit) for shortening them.

With newly shortened Vertical wires in hand, I got out my Bra Makers Manual and drew a new bridge & cradle for these new wires. Another great! But, I’m not done with this topic yet. More to follow…

Then I decided to make sure my custom bridge really was the best fit I could get. An article from Threads that talks about making a Duct Tape Sloper was my inspiration. I decided to follow the same principle and use multiple layers of tape to make a ‘sloper’ for my bridge. That worked well too. And then I checked it against the custom bridge I’d made. It is almost exactly the same as what I’d done when I followed the instructions in Norma’s book, Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction. So I have my correct bridge shape. Great!

full bridge

Here’s my little tape sloper. I didn’t continue the sloper past the marker – that wasn’t the problem area, so I focused on the middle of the bridge. The rest of the wire was fitting fine. But that area…

Well, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is the difference between my little tape sloper and the newly drafted cradle pattern. Yes, there is a problem.

cradle issue

Do you see that area at the front of the cradle where the bridge is? It’s nice and round. I don’t match. So, what to do about that?

I have asked that question before, and didn’t get an answer that was satisfactory. I was told by one person there was nothing to be done about that. But that’s an important very supportive area, and it does need to fit. So, I re-drew the cradle with the custom bridge in place of the bridge here.

Back to those shortened wires. Oh my! I will tell you, shortening them is not a problem. However, covering that rough edge is! I read Amy post, and decided to follow her suggestions for using Plasti-Dip. There was no variety of colors, in fact I had my choice of red or black. That was it.

So with red Plasti-Dip in hand, I came home and dipped my newly cut and filed wires. I let them dry overnight even. They looked great! And then came that magical moment when I went to insert them into the bra channel. I should have taken a picture… I inserted the newly rubberized end of the wire into the channel and pushed, and pushed and pushed. Then I did what I’m sure 99% of married women do when they can’t do something physically — I called my husband. ‘Honey can you help me?’ He pushed and pushed. And then looked at me and said that’s not going anywhere.

It seems Plasti-Dip is a rubber coating. Rubbery is not what I was expecting. I’ve been to every hardware store in 3 towns and no one has anything other than the rubber coating-type Plasti-Dip. Well, that didn’t work.

I have read about others using Goop, but I don’t think that is a preferred method. I bought some heat-shrink tubing and will try that. I’ve said this before, and it’s still true… I’m close.

Happy Creating!




I Tried a Custom Bridge Already

I kept thinking about how to alter the bra pattern sitting on my desk so the bridge would fit and go right back to the chest wall. Last year I spoke with the staff at Bra Makers Supply, and they’d suggested I lower the bridge if it wasn’t going all the way back. That really helped. So that was one of the things I’d done on the custom bridge I made as well as a couple of other changes.

And some of the ideas I was thinking about to alter the bridge, like narrowing the top of the bridge but keeping it a normal width at the bottom, were the same alterations I’d done using Norma‘s book: Demystifying Bra Fitting And Construction. I had no desire to go back down that road again, trying to re-invent this, especially as all the changes I was thinking of were the same as before.

I decided to look at what I’d done last year when I made a custom bridge. I have a bag of bras I’ve made, and they are put into the bag when I’m not completely happy, or I deem them ‘unwearable’. It’s like the Bag of Bra Shame! I’ve kept them all so I can use parts like wires, rings & sliders , hooks & eyes again. So I dug out the bag, and pulled out the bra on which I’d done the custom bridge.


I didn’t even finish this completely. The channeling didn’t get sewn down. No little bows to cover up the seams at the straps. Poor little Ivory Shelley. When I made this, I was disappointed in not getting the fit just right (again), and I stuffed it into what seemed to be an ever-filling Bra Bag.

This morning I tried it on again, and there are a few minor adjustments to be made but it does fit pretty well. The bridge works just like it should. It goes all the way back. So I thought some more about what I didn’t like about this bra.

I decided to look at the wires. I originally had put in 38s, then 40s, (my original bra pattern changed shape a bit when I altered the bridge, and the original wires didn’t fit properly. You can read about that here.) and although I’d been told I wasn’t likely I was a smaller wire size, I decided to try one. I had a couple of 38 Vertical wires, which correspond to a 36 wire. It worked quite well that I hadn’t finished that channeling.

And… drum roll please. It fits! The wires aren’t too tight. I am amazed! In one little experiment, I may have taken care of all my fitting challenges I couldn’t figure out. I’ve had this little Ivory beauty on all day and it’s more comfortable than any of the $200 bras I own.

I am so excited! It’s drafting time again. Now with the bridge problem fixed and past adjustments to the patterns, I’m ready to make something that fits PERFECTLY!

Happy creating!

Changes in the Wind

I’ve posted many photos of jewelry I’ve made recently in the classes I teach. I’ve really enjoyed taking people through the steps of making each project. I’ve also really enjoyed seeing them learn and make their own creations. However, all this is about to change, and I’m not sure I like the changes being proposed. It seems, in the classroom, I will no longer be making jewelry. Going forward I am expected to explain how to make jewelry using large photos which illustrate it. I’m not fond of this change and am thinking a change in employment will be coming soon.

Another change I experienced this past week was to lose my Lifestyle Coach. She’s no longer working with my physician, so no longer available to me. She helped me through a really rough health patch a few years ago, and I’ve been with her for 6 years. I will really miss her. As I was leaving the office and giving her a hug goodbye, she commented on the abstract poinsettia brooch I had on my coat. I took it off and gave it to her without a second thought.

I have no regrets about giving a gift to a friend, however, my coat now looked quite plain. So I pulled out my felt again, and sat and came up with a couple felt brooches to dress up my coat. I find hand-sewing to be very relaxing.

I’ll count this as part of a commitment I made to myself to make (at least) one project each month. I am on track for that with these, but it’s still early in March, so I plan to get something else sewn up. Hopefully I’ll resolve that bra alteration in my mind and get that off my desk and sewn up!

Here’s the first felt brooch I made. Quite similar to the other abstract poinsettia brooch, but this time I used some deep red with a black polka dot on it. It’s really charming felt.

red polka dot brooch

This one came off my coat for the photo shoot here.

The next one is very similar, but I changed the shape a little. I wanted it a more uniform shape.

pink zebra brooch

I LOVE this felt! It is so fun and flirty.

And the last one I changed the design again.

leopard print brooch

I had fun with all of these, and really do enjoy sitting down and doing some hand-sewing. I bought some Swarovski Hot Fix crystals and I’m going to add some bling to these.

Something helpful I’ve realized about myself while writing this blog is I really like to think things through before I decide to do anything. I don’t think I realized how much internal discussion I had with myself before making a decision. For example, I’m still contemplating the bridge on that bra alteration. I’ve even re-drawn it but am still contemplating it.  And I’m not ready to start cutting fabric on that project yet. I’m still contemplating the fingerless gloves too. I’d better make a decision on those soon though; we’re into above-zero temperatures now.

What’s next on my project list? Well, I do want to continue with the two sloper classes I’ve signed up for on Craftsy, and tomorrow I’m heading over to a friend’s to help her with a sloper too. Seems like slopers are next. And that bridge and the fingerless gloves. I will get them done!

Happy creating!

Thinking and Re-thinking

I haven’t made a lot of progress on anything this week. I’ve been thinking and re-thinking the alterations I’ve made to the bra pattern, and just haven’t wanted to take the cutting step yet. I really don’t want to change the cups at all, so am re-thinking the changes to the bridge. And I’m not convinced yet that the changes to the bridge are what will do the trick to perfect the fit. So, I’m thinking on that one still.

Another project I’m still thinking on is fingerless gloves.

Here’s one pair I’ve been looking at and thinking about making. The picture is not mine, but from Crochetology’s website. They’re lovely looking, and she includes a tutorial. But something made me re-think this one this morning.

My friend, Valerie, of Valerie Baber Designs posted this on facebook:

“Good morning all!  … I have decided to seriously work on patterning some of my designs this year.  There will be easier ones to start that will progress later in the year to the harder ones for more experienced knitters and crocheters.  I hope to have a few out this Spring.”
Now I’m thinking of waiting to use one of Valerie’s patterns. She has some really beautiful fingerless gloves. My favorite is the Rose Onie. They are so beautiful.

So other than thinking about what to make, what have I been doing?

I did see these adorable pin cushions from one of the blogs I follow, and it got me thinking of the sad state my little pin cushion is in.

Aren’t these adorable? And I do like a whimsical pin cushion.

Years ago, when I first got married and started sewing, I’d read the best pin cushions have sand in them to keep the pins sharp.  I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it made sense to me, so I found an adorable little bear, took the stuffing out of her backside and put sand in it. I can’t remember where I got the sand from, but another little tip I’d been given was to bake the sand to sterilize it. So, here’s my little bear pin cushion:

Bear Pin Cushion

Sadly, as you can see by the bag she’s sitting on, sand is starting to leak out of her.  I haven’t had the heart to throw her away (yet), probably because she’s been so wonderfully used for such a long time now.

And I have a couple of other whimsical pin cushions. I don’t know what’s inside these, but they are both quite heavy.

Dino & Rhino

It’s really time to use either my Dino or Rhino pin cushions.  These are one of those things you see, and can’t resist. They’ve been in my sewing basket for years now just waiting for some use. There was a third in this set when I bought them, but one of them became a gift to another sewing friend.

While I contemplate those pattern alterations, and decide which fingerless gloves to make before summer arrives, I think it’s time to either make a new pin cushion or break out one of these boys to help with my sewing.

Happy creating!

A Few Projects, Lots of Coughing

After my wonderful trip to the mountains a few weeks ago, I came down with the worst cold I can remember. And I coughed so much my ribs were hurting! I’m finally feeling a bit better and getting at some new projects.

But first, let me share a cute moment from our trip. One of the highlights my husband and I enjoy about going to the mountains is seeing the wildlife there. This trip we saw a few deer, coyotes, and bunnies. Yes, bunnies. At some point in the not too distant past, someone thought it would be a good idea to let domestic bunnies loose in Canmore. Well, it’s not uncommon to see the little furry guys hopping all over the town. But back to my dear husband. He kept saying he wanted to see bears. I reminded him, bears hibernate, but he still kept saying he wanted to see them. On our last day in the mountains, we were driving around and at the top of a road near the Banff Springs we came across this adorable family of bears!

Banff Bears

This made my honey’s trip! He got his bears.

As for me, other than coughing this past week, I did get my scarf done. I love it. I really mentally debated how to finish the outside part. And I actually knit up the better part of a ball of wool in a seed stitch. But I kept thinking with the straight border on either side, the overlapping edges of the middle part would give it a clear front and back side. And I didn’t want that. So, I abandoned the seed stitch and sat (and coughed) and tried to think of something else to give me that black border that looked so nice. I decided just to do some crochet all around the edges and I really like the result.

Red & Black Scarf

I love the contrast between the variegated red and the black. The black wool is 100% Merino.

close up scarf

Hmmm. Although I’m using my camera again, and editing my photos. I still don’t love the quality. However, this does show that variegation better. It goes from pale reds to really deep burgundies. Just lovely colors.

And I’ve also been mulling over what changes I’d have to make to my Fantasie Vivienne clone. I knew a few changes I wanted to make. A narrower bridge, and lower too. And seeing as my wires are shorter than the professional wires, I’d need to adjust the side’s height as well. I was also trying to figure out how to adjust the cradle and use my correct wire size which is one size smaller than what was in the original.

So I started that too. No cutting out yet. Just figuring out all the changes. So let’s look at that first one. Narrowing the bridge won’t affect anything else very much. But lowering it will. I had to adjust the upper cup accordingly. Same with lower the side. I adjusted the side panel and then the band. And lastly, the cradle. I was having a little trouble figuring out how to adjust for one size of wires. Would I have to re-draw the whole cradle using the wires as a starting point? I decided to take a 1/4″ out and eyeballing it, it looked good. There’s still some splay room for the wires, so all should work out okay.

bra project

Here are my re-drawn pattern pieces with the adjustments made, my bra kit from Bra Makers Supply in a pretty black with pink detail in the lace, and the picture of the original bra as a reference. I’m thinking with the changes to the bridge I’m making, it may end up looking more like their plunge bra.

plungenon plunge

Here they are side-by-side. I’ll have to see if this is what mine ends up looking like, but I think so.

Happy creating!

Previous Older Entries

Intricate Knits

My Knitting and Crochet Adventures in Design with a touch of Style.

Miss Celie's Pants

I sew. I cook. I travel. But, I do not clean.

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design. textures. sewing. fashion lore.

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