A racerback Watson

I've been following the Watson sew-along, but once I started sewing I just wanted to get on and finish it, so here it is!

One of my sewing resolutions for this year was to sew some bras to go under tops with cut-away sleeves and racer-backs, as I have sewn a few of these tops in recent years that I don't wear much just because I don't have the right bra to go under them.  Sometimes I wear them with a strapless bra, but I don't find that it is the most comfortable solution. I have made racerback bras before, but that was when I was a smaller size.

Generally, I find that the most flattering bras for me have wide set straps.  When Amy shared an earlier version of this pattern a while back, I modified it to have wider set straps.  This time, I went with the cups as drafted, so that the straps would sit closer to my neck and could be crossed over at the back.

For wired bras, I generally make a 34B and modify the patterns to reduce volume from the upper cup.  This bra is not wired, and the 34A size, based on my measurements, fit just fine.  For my muslin, the 34A band fit fine, but because I was using a stretchy lingerie lycra, I went down a size for my final version.  (I also went down a couple of sizes for the bikini because of the stretchiness of my lycra.)  I used a sports bra that somebody gave me to modify the back band piece to facilitate crossing over of the straps.

I did have a bit of trouble curving my elastic around that corner to the back strap.  I also had to re-do this elastic, as, in spite of taking measurements of the elastic and hook and eye, these heights did not match up very well at all once sewn.

I am very happy with the final bra, as it has liberated quite a few tops from my wardrobe.  I still have one or two with high necks and very cut-away shoulders that probably need a halter style bra, so I will make a convertible bra, or maybe think up another style, later in the year.

My poor body tape double is looking a bit worse for wear after 7 years and 3 house moves.


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

It is years since I have had a New Year at home.  I am quite enjoying this time to update my blog (and other areas of my life).  Thanks to everybody who has read my blog and double thanks to those who have commented, and triple thanks to all those who write blogs .... it takes that extra effort to write a blog post once you have finished a project, but we all love reading about your creative process!

My last project for the year is actually a home dec project. When I moved town, I joined a social sewing group in order to meet some people.  Only they all do patchwork and quilting, which is really not my thing.  In my attempts to fit in, I made a table cloth.  It is not finished because I have not found the right fabric for the border.  I have been using it on my porch and it is starting to fade already, so maybe it will never get a border?

I don't normally follow home dec fashion, but being in my own home now, I have been reading a few magazines to get some ideas about interior decorating, and it appears that triangles are having a fashion moment.

 I still get a giggle when other people turn up in the background of my photos!

I did make the top I am wearing in these photographs, but it is part of a drafting project that I have not completed, so I will write about it when more progress has been made.

A big thanks to Bernice for taking the photographs for my recent splurge of blog posting.

Happy New Year to you all!  Bubbles all round.  I look forward to reading about your sewing adventures in 2015.


Beach cover-up

This is another make in a dubious fabric choice.

It is a cotton voile from Oh Sew Noosa.  I have a few cotton or cotton / silk voiles in my stash that I don't know what to do with.  I suspect that the voile is too lightweight to offer good sun protection.  I'm not really one for sheer, floaty tops and it is too hot to layer something underneath.  I prefer to wear a crisper cotton as it feels cooler than a floaty cotton.

For the neck trim I machine-sewed embroidery stitches (on a borrowed machine) onto several layers of linen and then cut between the rows of stitches to give a raggy sort of effect.  I am wondering whether it is time to upgrade my sewing machine.  I have been giving sewing lessons lately and it seems that all my students have better sewing machines than me.

The pattern is from Patrones No. 340 Style 27 Blusa Birger st Mikkelsen.  It has raglan sleeves and a gathered peplum of sorts.  I added several rows of horizontal pleats to shorten the tunic length (an idea I borrowed from Tropical Threads).  I left off the lower sleeve.

I have decided not to renew my subscription to Patrones.  I bought it because it used to have fun summer patterns, including swimwear.  This last summer, it was hard to tell that the summer magazines were any different from other times of year.  And no swimsuits.  The last year seems to have had a gazillion jumpsuit patterns, plenty of shapeless dresses without even a bust dart, millions of blazer and pant patterns that I have little use for and even their blouse patterns seem less likely to have a bust dart than not.  So I did not renew and now I will see whether I miss it or not.  I did like getting a magazine in the mail and my first flick through of each edition was charged with anticipation...only more often than not, followed by disappointment.

On a positive - my blogging is nearly up to date - just one more post tomorrow and I will have finished off the year's posts in a timely manner.


Stylearc Rosie Top

I made this top back in April, but I must confess to wearing it only once...somehow it just doesn't feel like "me".  I think the print is the problem. I have photographed it this week in my attempts to bring my blog up to date.  Bernice has been visiting and taking all these photos, and she thinks it looks alright, so perhaps I'll give it another go.

The pattern is the Stylearc Rosie Top. It has extended sleeves, princess seams from the shoulder and a peplum.  It is a slip-on style with back closure and there is a pleat in the peplum at CB.  I made a muslin, but then ended up taking in the top a little more with a couple of pleats  at the front.

I did take one photo during construction.  The fabric is a lightweight cotton and when I made the facing, I stitched it right sides together to the interfacing and turned out to give a clean edge to the facing.  This is a neat finish that would not work on a heavier fabric.


Bustier Top

I made a bustier to go with my big, red skirt.

The fabric is a silk/wool gazaar; leftovers from a wedding guest dress my sister made.

For the pattern, I started with  tutu pattern 2104 from Tutus that Dance.  This might be an unusual starting point for a home sewer, but I figured that ballerinas don't have a large bust, and neither do I, so it might be a good starting point.

I did make a muslin.  I put a zip in the muslin to facilitate fitting to minimise the contortionist requirements to fit a garment to oneself.  I did my first muslin late at night, and then the next morning, the tummy area was too loose.  I decided to go with the looser fit, as it is morelikely to be an evening garment than a day one.  Besides, it is good to have room to eat!  I also knew that the bow on my skirt would take up a bit of room.

The tutu pattern very sensibly comes with 1 inch seam allowances at the CF and side seams and 2 inch seam allowances at the CB.  It has 1/2 inch seam allowances everywhere else.  Ballerinas don't come with a belly though, and I do, so I had to add quite a lot of fabric to the belly seam.  The pictures below show me pointing to where the seam originally was and where it is now.

The tutu construction method allows for relatively easy fit changes; I guess so that the tutu can be worn by different dancers in later productions.  The lining is sewn to the outer fabric pieces before the seams are sewn (essentially as an interlining).  The princess seams are sewn together, then the top and bottom edges of the bodice are finished before sewing the side seams, which makes it easy to let out or take in the side seams later.  I decided to follow this construction method, as my bustier is not likely to be a high wear item and I like the idea that somebody else may find it in years to come, and adjust it to fit themselves.

The bodice has 8 panels.  As I said, I was making this out of leftover fabric, so I was not able to pattern match the 8 pieces.  I did try to match areas of colour and dark.

The above photo shows the lining attached to the outer fabric and the seams being pressed open.  I used quilters basting spray to attach the lining to the outer fabric before finishing the edges of each piece (I'm sure I took a photo of the spray glue basting, but I can't find it).

For the lining I used cotton sheeting that I picked up in an op shop years ago.  The sheets were discards from a resort.  They had a few rips and tears but did not seem worn and they are very densely woven, with no give, so I think they must be 1200 thread count sheets or similar.  I initially bought it to use for muslins, but found  I needed a new needle to pierce the fabric, so I put it aside for  tutus when I was sewing dance costumes.  It seems perfect fabric for bustier linings.

I only boned the CF seam, using the seam allowance as casing.  I have put in rigiliene boning, but have not sewn the channels shut, as I would like to order steel boning for my next bustier, and I will replace the bones then.

I departed from the construction instructions to add an elastic waist stay.  The ballerinas have stays to attach the tutu bodice to basque / panties / skirt, that I obviously didn't need.

I sewed strips of bra hook and eye tape to the back for closing, which is not as strong as the hooks generally used for tutus, or bustiers, but it was what I had on hand.  All the materials used for this project were from stash, so it was essentially a "free" project.

Here are some photos of the inside.  You can see that I have not finished hand sewing the binding to the lining...I wore it unfinished!