Sunday, 27 August 2017

Madalynne Intimates, Sierra Bra

See-through fast became one of my buzzwords for 2017, and with so many sheer items in my wardrobe it was about time I made some underwear worth looking at.

The Sierra Bra is a free PDF sewing pattern from Madalynne which you can download from her website. Here you will also find a sew-along split into three sections to help with putting he bra together. Day one, what you'll need in your stash and cutting out. Day two sewing together the pieces and Day three adding your straps and closure.

Sounds easy eh?! And it is if you pay attention to detail. I've been lucky enough to have a week off work and the house to myself, so I was straight in there and got finished in a day.

Fabric wise, I squeezed the outer bra out of the leftover lace from Sew Essential from my last Simple Sew make and the lining from some power mesh I've had in my 'underwear stash' for ages. I had a bit of a lace and elastic spending spree on Amazon one night when I was feeling sorry for myself and got hold of this lovely stretchy lace trim which I used instead of Picot elastic.

Other notions required are strap elastic for the halter neck strap with hoops and sliders, and hook and eye tape for a classic bra closure. I chose to install an optional strip of elastic to the underbust just so it would grab a little more to my body. The bra fits so well though that I didn't really need it. As Madalynne explains in the sew-along, the compression is what makes this work as a bra. Bigger busted ladies might struggle a little with it but does the job perfectly for me.

Strap-wise I was a massive cheat and used a bra strap I'd been saving off of an old bra. The slider still in place, all I had to to was attach through the loops to the strap area on the bra. Madalynne tells you how to make your own slidey strap with a slider at each end for changing the length. I also recycled the hook and eye tape off a bra and used this at the back. I'd never attached a bra closure before so this was pretty exciting. I unpicked all the previous stitching around the edge of the tape to open up the two sides, then sandwiched the back of the bra between the tape. I held my breath and zigzag stitched around the edges and just like that it was attached!! Only thing to look out for is getting everything the right way round! Check day 3 of the sew-along for some handy tips in getting this right.

I absolutely love the Sierra pattern! And as a free download there is really no excuse. Once you've got all your stash you are away! This was my fist time using a lining in an undergarment and I just adore how professional it instantly looks. The design is unusual, but extremely comfortable. A great excuse to all that lacey stuff out that I've been saving!


Location: Bolehill Quarry, Derbyshire
Currently listening to: Good Day Sunshine, The Beatles

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Simple Sew, Ruby Dress

First up a massive thanks to Sew Essential for this month's fabric!! I had an image in my head of how I wanted my Simple Sew Ruby Dress to turn out and their lovely John Kaldor Ritual Jersey and soft stretch lace made it possible.

I wanted it to capture all the things I've been going for with my projects in 2017; Sexy, Sassy, Spooky. With an added dash of swishy and see-through! I am so in love with using lace at the moment. The back panels are see through enough to be sexy, but not blindingly obvious.

In hindsight, I absolutely WISH I'd used a layer of lace over the black front bodice too just for some extra interest. Definitely next time.

The pattern is super easy, definitely suitable for beginners. I made a few little tweaks to the pattern. I took out the centre back seam. As I was using a stretch fabric, I didn't need to be faffing about with zips. I cut the back skirt exactly the same as the front skirt as there was no need for seam allowances where I omitted the zip.

I also scooped out the back neckline a little more. Initially I was tempted to scoop it right down so that the back was literally two separate pieces just touching as they met the skirt. I freaked out a bit though, thinking the stretch lace was going to stretch right out of place and show my knickers off or something, then I had the bra strap panic so settled for a short seam attaching the two pieces up to bra height. Nice save eh!?

The Ruby Dress is designed for wovens, so I had to make a few adjustments to the pattern as I was using knit. I'm not going to lie, I winged it a bit and it was all a bit freestyle. I took a chunk out of the centre front bodice (about 2.5cm in total I would say), then an equal amount out of the skirt pieces from the middle of the paper pattern, not the side seam or front fold so that the skirt flounce would still be even. A further cm or so out of each back panel to allow for the stretch of the lace.

Instead of facing the neckline (bleugh), I used a 4cm wide strip of jersey with stretch running along the width and attached with the overlocker right around the back and front of the neckline, stretching out a little (and evenly!) as I went. This added the stability I needed to the back panels and a lovely consistent finish right the way round. Phew! Was so relieved when that worked!!

I then did the same to the arm holes, this time sewing the jersey strips into bands and stretching them around the armholes as I went. It was a bit fiddly, and yes, I did get a pin stuck in the overlocker (not advised). But we got there!!

Left the dress to 'hang' over night then turned up a narrow hem to finish.

So sleek! So stretchy! So shiny! So sassy!


Hope you like!


Location: Centenary Riverside, Rotherham
Currently listening to: Won't Make Love At All, Pokey LaFarge

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Simply Sewing Magazine Mia Set, Flared Sleeve Blouse II

Lovely sleeves.

I have time for nothing but lovely sleeves this week. So I'm back with the Mia Set pattern from issue 32 of Simply Sewing magazine to create another blouse with luscious sleeves.

This time I'm using this crazy print fabric from Hillsborough Fine Fabrics. There's lots going on! Paisley and stars and swirls and flowers in pink and blue and yellow and cyan. This lovely 60s style geometric print was just the deal for another Mia blouse. Sew psychedelic.

The most time was spent cutting this bad boy out! I cut everything as a single layer as I wanted to make sure everything was perfectly symmetrical.
I paid a lot of attention to pattern placement as I did not want stars on my boobs! Cutting everything symmetrically made sewing up much easier. I have some beautifully matched seams on my sleeves that I am super proud of.

The open weave of my previous blouse allowed for quite a lot of stretch. This crepe though was much more rigid. This time I did have to incorporate the back slit opening so that I could get it over my big head. Instead of hook and eye I made a little thread eye and a hook I had kicking around. Thought I'd be fiddling about with this for ages but I was relieved it just seemed to fall into place.

Using solid fabric this time also meant that I incorporated the neck facing. I love the finish but I do not know anyone who actually likes a faced neckline!! Forever worried about it flipping up. It also makes for quite a rigid neck. don't tell anyone but the blouse came out a little tight across the chest so the rigid neckline doesn't help add any comfort. The chest fit is easily fixed by wearing a bra that's not padded (yes I have a few thanks!). In fact, its been nice to get some wear out of my homemade leopard bra.

My least fave part of my blouse is my sleeve hems, which sucks because it's all about the sleeves!! The double turned hem on such a curved edge really did my head in. It's not a neat job, so when I get a bit of time I'm going to unpick and neaten them up with overlocking and a single hem. Bit of a faff when there's so many sleeve hems though! Ha!

Scared off by my hemming disaster I did a single turn on the bottom and was much happier with it.


Location: Stoneface Creative, Storrs Lane, Sheffield
Currently Listening to: I Am The Walrus, The Beatles

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Simply Sewing Magazine Mia Set, Flared Sleeve Blouse

An eye-catching feature is what draws me to a sewing pattern. These stunning sleeves on the cover of issue 32 of Simply Sewing Magazine were enough to melt my heart. The pattern comes with two choices of sleeve, fluted or flared, and can be made into a dress or top. The style is very 60s in design, featuring cute bust darts from the armscye.

Desperate to get started, the fabric was some I had in my stash. It wouldn't have been my first choice. I know I love see-through, but the hole-y quality of this crochet fabric meant that you would be able to see the neckline facing had I followed the instructions. It felt a little like cheating, but instead I just turned in a very narrow hem around the neck to create a neater finish. I'm looking forward to hand picking some fabric from the shops to make another.

The pattern is very easy to follow, just have to pay attention when you're attaching all those sleeve bits together! There is the actual sleeve, two flared cuffs and a little joining insert that staggers the cuffs. The placement of these is perfect, not too far down the arm, giving a nice flare to any elbow movements. They are all stitched up together so you only see one join from sleeve to flare.

The pattern has a seam at the centre back with a gap at the top fastened by a hook and eye. I stitched up to the notch only to find the head hole was massive and absolutely did not need to fiddle about with a hook and eye. Instead I took quite a bit out of the back seam and stitched right to the top. I top stitched the seam allowances, making them quite wide as the open weave makes them kind of a feature.

Hems always look a bit bobbly in this fabric, but I did a double turned hem on the bottom and all the cuffs to finish off.

Would love to say more, but it was pretty simple! Looking forward to making more!



Location: Arbor Low Stone Henge
Currently listening to: Love Me, Las Kellies