Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
My newest sewing book

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Sewing with less stress back cover
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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon



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Monday, May 10, 2010

Summer Buttericks

I am on to the next thing this morning. Two more weeks and we leave to go home. I spent most of last week resting from bra-making and working on generic blouse patterns for me. More on that later. I am in DC in two weeks and I realized and had promised my son there a shirt (which I have been putting off because I want it to be perfect and to read David Coffin's book first) and he gave me a bolt he would like me to make some curtain things for over his closet with, with those rings. I have never used the rings and the thing is that the wonderful fabric he gave me is burlap.

Yes burlap. This should be an adventure. Remain posted.

I said a while back that I was beginning to despair over Butterick's shrinking offerings and here this morning they have posted some cool patterns for knit tops, very wearable, and an easy dress that would be perfect for some rayon Batik I have a home. Of course now I have to find a pattern sale, there is a Jo Ann's here but the patterns never seem to be on sale. Maybe BVM club will do me a favour soon.

So here are my pattern potentials for some fast summer sewing.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Unqualfied thoughts on bra-fitting

Disclaimer is that this is just how it seems to me.

First I would forget that weird measure above you bust and add 5" nonsense. If that was true we would all be a 42 A and we are not. Ask any professional bra fitter and she will tell you that most women wear a band size that is too large and a cup size that is too small.

Interesting fact one: If your bra is uncomfortable and you always feel you have to haul the band down, you band is not too tight, it is actually too loose. A smaller band size will stay put and therefore be more comfortable. In my own experience after my very expensive bra fitting experience the band size that fit me in the end was very close to the actual measurement of my chest under my breasts, in fact the band measure was the measurement of my body where the band would be, funny thing.

Interesting fact two: the size of the cup goes down as the band size increases. This means that a 34D has the same actual cup size (and of course underwire size) as a 36B and a 38A. Just pause and think that one through. So if you feel your cups are sort of baggy in a current bra, you might be better to go down a band size with the same cup size than keep the same band and a smaller cup.

So maybe your "fitting" issues are wrong size, lack of information, issues.

Interesting isn't it?

Stuff to make bras

As my friend Robin commented on the last post, bra-making has the potential to deliver some returns to our frugal natures. Meaning, yes, you can save money doing this.

This makes bra-making unique in my sewing world where I am sure I am spending far, far more to make my own than buy it. In fact I know I am.

When you consider bra-making one of the things that is really intimidating is the number of supplies you need and all the weird little findings. There are some great kits out there but if you want to try this out on your own here is a list of things you can collect or access from your collection to get you started.

I want to emphasize that a lot of this stuff can be collected along the way for very little in a random sort of way, often as discount or weird left-overs in those funny stores that seem to buy a lot of discount lots of job ends - you know the kind of places that have tin roofs. So here is what you need to keep on the look-out for. In short this is kind of a basic supply list for a bra without underwires, if you want an underwire bra, you will need those of course and a casing, called channeling to contain the wires:

1. Fabric, this is easy, anything a little but not too stretchy for the cups (tricot, firm and stretchy cotton lycra, or even bathing suit stuff) You will only need a tiny bit, a couple of handkerchief's worth really. Save your scraps.

2. Power knit, no substitute for this for the sides and if you make a version like mine the front piece under and around the cup. You can online this from anywhere, but I got mine from a discount fabric store in Winnipeg, $5 a meter, excellent quality 60" wide. I have enough to make bras for the rest of my life. Trick is to find a place that doesn't understand what they have.

3. Wider plush elastic to go around your body, the worst and most wasteful way to buy this is in packages, see if you can grab some somewhere by the yard.

4. Skinny but hopefully fancy lingerie elastic for the neckline and around the top/underarm/back. You will use up yards of this stuff so grab what you can. I have a picture here of some really nice lingerie elastic (this was from Bra maker's supply the rest on the other bras was from a discount bin) so you can see how professional a good edging elastic can make it all look. I would definitely try to find the nicest you can for this. Look too for little bows or things to dress it up if you want too.

5. Strap elastic, this looks like shiny tape and stretches only a little - often great deals on this, because it looks like pretty useless elastic to most people. You might also as an alternative be able to buy lingerie straps pre-made.

6. Little sliders and rings made usually of plastic. I found these the hardest to source and then there is the colour issue. I was finally lucky enough to get a bag of clear plastic slides and a bag of clear plastic rings for 49 cents each, 50 in bag on the wall of an old fabric store. You will need these to make your own straps with the strap elastic.

7. Hooks for the back, most fabric stores carry these.