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Saturday, August 26, 2017

A Bra Break from Sewing - The Watson Bra





The SLSS household has not been well this week.  I did not even feel like sewing a garment.  I had to do something though, so I decided to play around with making another bra.  And unfortunately I made it in a black fabric, so the photos are a little dark and do not easily show detail.  And in keeping with the 70's retro vibe of the Watson Bra, I have changed my photo to black and white.

Earlier this year I made a bra using a Kwik Sew pattern.  This was more an exercise in learning the techniques needed to make a bra.  Unlike some sewers, I actually have to practice a few times in order to understand what to do.  I can't just blindly follow instructions as I am not an aural.  I have to immerse and understand from inside out what to do and why.

I also need to understand principles behind what I do.  It helps to explain the process.

In due course, as I become more proficient in both principle and process in bra making, I shall share more here.  For now, though, this is the bra I made:



This is a wirefree bralette pattern.  It is to be made from stretch fabrics - with quite a lot of stretch, such as lycra blends.  The patternmaker suggests that the bralette has a forgiving fit, due to the use of quite stretchy fabrics.  This made me wonder how much support this little bralette had.  Some people who have made it claim it supports nicely, others say it is not so supportive.

The front band is interlined with a firm tricot to give some support.  The back band is powernet or stretch lycra blend.

I looked at the construction notes and could see that the two inner cups just met at the centre, and the seams of the cups themselves were just stitched down under the cups. This made the front corner of the bralette untidy looking.  I also know (from previous reading about bramaking) that a plush casing that wires go through can be used to offer a little more support.  I had some casing like stuff - not the proper plush casing, but something that would do -  in my stash, so I experimented with that to cover the seams and to cover the front part of the bra on the inside:


As this is only a test and fitting bra, I used up bits in my stash that were odds and ends.  I found a white elastic that I used on the neck and arm edges.  I had no inclination to keep changing bobbins - usually I would, but my head cold got the better of me - so I used black throughout. Still, it does show you the stitching process, which is two fold.

(and the white marks you see are my marking pen marks - they erase with water very easily).

The back is fastened with a three hook and eye set:


I could write a book already on fitting a bra pattern, but I will keep it simple. Basically, there are a number of different sizing  systems - U.S.A has one, Europe a different one, United Kingdom, different again, and Australia has it's own as well. Plus there are a number of different ways of measuring.  I don't get too stressed out about this,  I just measure, and quickly do a muslin - which again, is not too involved:



I thought that 34B was about right, and so the muslin confirmed.  I did think I needed to alter on the outer curve.  I also thought that the seam allowances had been miscalculated near the strap - so I added a bit more. The xxxx's mark the spots.

It's a bit unglamourous, and so is the attempt at seeing whether this would fit.  I tie the elastic round my neck in a halter fashion, and then sort of hold things up, round or together to see whether things are about right.  

As it so happens, the fit is about right:




As far as fit when worn is concerned, it could be more supportive.  I think I will use a firmer fabric for the cups next time.  I also think that I need to pull the elastic in more firmly around the outer arm curve - the pattern instructions were a little vague here - just a gentle stretch, whatever that means.  I will also use a firmer elastic.  I'll probably take out a small amount at the side too as I am a straight frame figure.  I could also add more to the armcurve area. The casing under the breasts is certainly a good idea.

So, now I will wear this as a summer time after work lounging bra, just to get the feel of the fit. Adn then, when I feel a little more inclined, make myself a "for real" version of this bralette. And I will look at finishing the exposed seams in a more RTW fashion.

That's it for now,

Sarah Liz

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Very Naughty Knit indeed - and another Kwik Sew 3766 top.



This is going to be a fairly short post today, mainly because I somehow wiped out some of my pictures. And I have a sort of modus operandi - finish the garment, take photos (not my favourite thing), blog it, and move on to the next project.  So, I don't have much to share except for the back story and the finished garment.

On the plus side, I seem to have sorted out my camera problem.  I was getting poor, out of focus, fuzzy pictures.  My camera is supposed to be set on Automatic, because I am not someone who has any sort of interest in photography. DH suggested that maybe the setting had been accidentally altered.  I think this was the case, so photos may now improve again!  Not promising though...you know me and my thoughts about taking blog selfies!

 just made up a batch of unruly sweater knit, I decided it was time to make a simple little t-shirt out of a remnant of cotton/lycra knit that I had stashed.  Only it didn't quite go that way.

Things started well enough - I chose my old faithful pattern Kwik Sew 3766:




I have made plenty of these before - all posts can be found here.  It looks so different, and fits so differently depending on the knit I use.

This knit was a four way stretch cotton with lycra (3%).  It was a .80 by 150 wide remnant piece, priced at $2.00 per metre, original price $24.99.  From good old Spotlight.

I preshrank the material, but the selvedge was bright orange. Although there was no obvious bleed (I stood with the dye fixative ready, but it was not needed) - later I found some light orange marks.  So I had to work around those. So intent was I on cutting the main garment, I forgot about the neckband, mostly because I usually use a rib.  Luckily, when I raided my stash of rib knits, I found a perfect colour. This was quite a fortuitous mistake, because I think the solid rib band looks fantastic and makes this garment.  It also holds the neckline nicely, as the fabric was very stretchy.

Sleeves were cut to the length I could cut them - they are not the short  length shown in the pattern.

The other issue, and it was a big one and nearly had me stopping the project before I started, was that the horizontal stripe was not horizontal. The vertical stripe was quite vertical, and ran along the rib of the knit.  So I cut of course using this line as my "grain line".  But the horizontal stripe did not go at 90 degrees, it ran at an angle uphill, or downhill, depending on which way you look at it.  I had photos of this, but they are the ones I have somehow lost.

So, then I had a dilemma.  I decided to push on and work around the problem.  I thought that if I could get the hemline on an angle, that would visually distract from the problem.  And with a small amount of ruching on one side- the short side, the folds from that would make the angle hem look like it was meant to be:






The back shot is an action shot - I had just finished moving the screen and my camera indicated it was about to go off - I hadn't quite got into position!


And if you look at the hemline - which is straight, it's my ruched side pulling things up - you can quite clearly see those stripes are not horizontal.

So that is it.  I am glad I persevered, because I rather like my  funny little knit top:


Once again, if you look at the above picture, the fold of the hem is on the cross grain.  The stripes are not on the cross grain.

I am so glad that I only purchased a remnant piece at $2.00 per metre.  I would have been very cross to have paid $24.99 per metre for a fabric whose print was not accurate.  I'm always wary with printed patterns.

That's it for now.  I'm starting to perk up again, as life returns to a new normal.   I hope to get my blogging routine back on track too!. Thanks for your patience and for continuing to read my blog.  It's much appreciated.

Bye for now

Sarah Liz

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Leftover Knit Jacket turned Vest - Burda 7183.



Well, all good things come to an end, although with this knit fabric, I am rather pleased, because it was so tedious to sew and didn't want to behave at all.  I had a strip of leftover knit that I was determined to use, firstly because I love it, and secondly, because it was so awful to sew that I knew that if I put it away to make up some other time, it would never get done.  So it was onward knit.

I have a little stash of remnants, and in that I had a piece of black brushed tracksuit fleece, poly cotton mix.  I decided to use that for sleeves and back, and have a patterned front.  But of what?  I rummaged through my patterns and chose Burda 7183:



 This is a zip front jacket and I had a zip that was just the right length.  The neckline was bound - and the pattern suggested faux leather.

I usually fit a Burda 38, perhaps smaller on the shoulder, but Burda 38 is usually okay.  Now, I usually toile things, but I didn't bother - this was leftovers, and a remnant.  So I cut out and removed an inch in length from the sleeves.  This turned out to be a mistake, because the sleeves are extraordinarally short for a commercial pattern.  And, not only that, they were far too narrow for me. I have never had this problem with any sleeve, as I am quite thin in the extremities.  But when I tried them on, they were very fitted.  Not only that but the sleeve is in one piece and does not have an elbow dart.  So I found them tight and uncomfortable and with no dart, movement was restriced. As I planned to wear the jacket over layers, this was not going to work for me.  I had read the reviews on pattern review and no one had mentioned this issue, so I guess width and fit is a personal comfort matter.  I think if you wore this as a dress jacket without layers underneath, the sleeves may be fine.

So I had a change of direction and made a vest.  I decide to omit the zip as it would look too heavy, and with vests I tend to wear them open and only fasten if need be.

So I decided to bind the armholes to match the neckline, and added hook and eye closures (3) to the centre front of the vest.

As for the faux leather binding, I used what I had.  It did not have stretch, so it did not sit very nicely.  It looks worse in the photos than it does in real life. When the garment is worn, it curves over my body and the faux smooths out a bit.  Plus in real life wear, with movement and what not, little flaws like this are not noticeable.

And of course, as luck would have it, the next time I went to Spotlight they had some stretch faux pleather.  So I have purchased some for the next time this situation arises.

Amazing, my top edges met and so did the bottom ones!







There isn't much more to say about this little vest, so I will just close with some pictures:






That's about all there is to say about this jacket, except I want to make the long sleeve version one day - suitably altered!  I need to find a suitable fabric, but at least I have the faux pleather in my stash.

I'm so glad this knit project is over.  So far, four garments from two pieces of 1.45 and 1.55 sweater knit, plus a remnant of .4 for the cowl.  And a small remnant of fleecy for the vest.  Not bad, 4 garments and cowl for about $80.00 of fabric plus notions and patterns.

I needed a simple project after that, so chose an innocuous little TNT t-shirt.  Unfortunately, things were not that simple...isn't that just sewing.

But I will share that story with you next week.

Sarah Liz

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Knitted Skirt, McCall's 6654.




The knit story continues.  As you know by now from my previous two posts, I rather fell in love with this lovely, fleecy, knit fabric, found at Spotlight for $25.00 per metre (half price).  It is a polyester, acrylic and wool blend and such gorgeous colours.   I first settled on a knit dress (blogged here) and then decided I wanted a skirt. I cut one from the leftovers from the dress project, but it was really too short.   In the meantime, I had decided I wanted a sweater as well, to wear with my plain, boring, black basics.  So I had purchased another piece.  It dawned on me that if I used Simplicity 1255 which had dropped shoulders, (blogged here).  I could cut the sleeves out of the too short skirt.  That meant I was only needing to cut the body of the sweater - and in turned meant I had enough for a skirt that was nice and long!

I used a very simple elastic waist skirt pattern, McCall's 6654:


The skirt was quite fitted, according to the measurements given on the pattern, so I cut a size 12. I knew the seams of this fabric would easily take up an inch, so went with the more generous size to accommodate this.  I just cut out the length I had of the fabric, and that was that.  The pattern has no back seam, but I added one so that I could add a slit at the back for walking ease, which I need.

I did not use the sweater knit for the waistband, as it would have been far too bulky, and the skirt is bulky enough already. I also didn't have enough.  I found a piece of rib knit in my stash, leftover from something else,so I used that.  I use a casing and thread the elastic through that.  I prefer this method, because I can adjust the elastic to suit my waistline.  I also made the band much wider than specified in the pattern - the elastic suggested was 1/2 inch wide, which is far too narrow for me.  I like a wider, firmer elastic, especially for a heavier knit like this.  I  added a bow at the back so I can easily tell back from front:



I'm afraid that I don't have a good back view, but I am sure you can use your imagination here.  And thank goodness I am small - the knitted fabric is quite bulky and gives a rather rounded look, but that's okay - I will be wearing it with a handknit mohair sweater, which also adds some volume.








Oh, and I can also wear it with the sweater, to make another dress!





  Which will be handy if I go away in winter, because I can take sweater and skirt, plus a black mohair sweater, plus black pants and woolly skirt, and have a warm capsule wardrobe.

Now, I have nearly finished the sweater knit - but I managed to squeeze one more garment out of the leftovers. With a bit of help from a remnant of black tracksuit fleecy.

So I shall continue the knit story next week...

Sarah Liz