Burda 9-2012-109: Black Eyelet Dress

I needed a dark / black dress that I hadn’t just been seen in.  I really don’t have a lot of dark clothing. Since I had minimal time to sew, I chose something I’d already traced and worked out my fit issues,  Burda 9-2012-109. I made it first in a blue sweater knit. This time, I sewed it up in a woven black cotton eyelet from my stash.

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Since the dress was going to be SO BORING in solid black, I decided I wanted sleeves with an impact. I stole these awesome flutter sleeves out of the December 2011 Burda.

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These sleeves give both me and the dress life!  I actually wish I could have made the dress this came on (below).

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But, I was 3/4 of a yard short in the only other black fabric I have. Actually, I had to cut two inches off the length of this dress to eek all the parts out of this dress.

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The fit was pretty loose and I ended up taking in the waist by a total of three inches. I’d already worked out my French dart FBA from my knit version. I also added binding to the neck, like the knit version.

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The dress is lined in a rayon lining (breathable for summer). The hemline is done with Snug Hug seam tape and my blind hem. The lining is sewn with my coverstitch using the hemmer/ feller foot from Brother.

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I love it when a plan comes together (and I get to use every single machine in my arsenal). Of course, since this was practically made overnight, now my mom thinks I can make a dress at the drop of a hat! But, this was already worked out and just three pattern pieces and made interesting with the sleeves.

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I’m going to see if I have enough of my pink and cream seersucker to make another.

Vogue 8888: Minty Green and Black Lace Chemise

Minty green and black are so retro, aren’t they?

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This is my third foray into sewing clothes I can sleep in. My flannel short set and flannel pyjama pants are still going strong. I made this nightgown last year, but it didn’t hold up well. I decided to dig into deep stash and sew this minty green stretch silk. I bought this fabric back in 2007 to copy a dress a friend has. I just never got around to sewing it.

Vogue 8888 (from Vogue website)

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I think this is so pretty!! I’ve always wanted pretty things to sleep in. For this pattern, I made a one inch FBA and no swayback adjustment. I’m bustier than the model and will tell you the slip has a great level of cleavage.

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The awesome black lace was gifted to me from Kathi R. I love how it plays against the mint green. I was worried it was too sharp a contrast and would have done better with something lighter. But, I love how the colors play against each other through the lace.

The pattern calls to be cut on the bias. But, I went up two sizes, cut cut on the straight grain and with the stretch of the silk — it was perfect.

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Yo! Check my straps! I bought this strapping off of eBay. The original pattern calls for sewing tubes of fabric for the straps.  Yeah, screw that noise. Well, 1.) I lost the pattern piece. 2.) I hate sewing small tubes of anything. So, I bought these bra straps and sewed them on.

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It looks a little more RTW in my opinion and was a snap! And, if you’re wondering, this slipprovides ZERO support, LOL!

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I tried a narrow hem and it was not a good look – bubbly, wrinkly, wavy.  So, I serged and turned under once. I still may turn under a second time.

I told myself I was making view E next. Same material. Different lace. I’d also like to make this pattern again using black knit tricot from my stash and wear it as a slip. I really like this pattern!

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Thank you for the good wishes for my grandmother. She’s back in her nursing home and hopefully on the mend. The news has been less than encouraging. But, she’s a seriously tough broad. I mean, c’mon. She raised TEN children!

Thank you also for the comments on my last dress. I too am super happy with it.  Since it’s black cotton, I think it will be a dry clean only dress to prevent fading over time.

 

Granny’s 90th Birthday Party Dress: Vogue Patterns 8633

As I started to write this blog post, I looked up Carolyn’s blog. It was her post that alerted me to this fabric at Metro three years ago (and she sent it to me too!). Then, I clicked the link to Allison C’s blog (she bought the same fabric) and see she used the same fabric, on the same pattern, on Fourth of July weekend three years ago. How funny is that?  I actually said out loud, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”  hehehe.


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For my (maternal) Granny’s 90th birthday party this past weekend in Brooklyn (New York), I went in to deep deep stash and pulled out this border print cotton.  One reason I was committed to sewing and wearing a dress is that my grandmother was a seamstress in Carriacou, Grenada, WI. She was sent as a small girl down the road to a woman who taught her how to sew. My grandfather was also a tailor in Grenada. It makes me feel incredibly connected to my roots when I make clothes. I caught my mom looking at me once when I was adjusting a garment on her. She said it reminded me of her father. I never met my grandfather, he passed before I was born. All that being said, granny didn’t teach me how to sew. I learned in Home Ec and from books. But, I do remember her making a dress for me in college. And, I remember her inspecting my work when I started sewing. Granny thought I did a good job even though I needed a pattern (that I paid good money for no less!). Oh, she said I also needed to work on my  finishing :-) 

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From the Vogue website. View DE.

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I decided to let the stripes speak on the border print. I did think about the stripe placement. The possibilities (with enough material) for placement with this dress are endless. I could have done the entire bodice in stripes. Or placed the stripes on one side. Or, just did the skirt in stripes and kept the bodice solid. Seriously, endless possibilities.

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The cotton has a thinner hand. So, I underlined the bodice and waistband with silk organza. The dress is lined throughout with black cotton batiste. I finished the skirt hem with my blind hemmer and a little hem tape. I am in love with my hemmer y’all!

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I despise facings. But, on this, I see how it works. I was able to use my blind hemmer to attach the facing so it wasn’t floppy. I’m still getting the hang of it….. A colleague wore a similar dress last week. The ‘V’ is lined with lining all the way to the edge (rather than a facing) She said her neckline always flips out. So, for that reason I’m glad I have the facing.

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I cut and sewed a 14. Made a 1/2 inch FBA and took in the waist about one inch.  I also did not make a swayback. The bias skirt give a TON of volume and awesome swing. 

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This skirt is not rear end friendly if you’ve got some junk in the trunk. On me, I think I look wider than I am in the butt and hips because of the folds of the bias skirt.

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Even on the dress form, I think it adds some width. Or, I’m just telling myself that…

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I was super happy to see my parents this weekend too. They drove up to NYC from Florida.

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 I don’t know when my dad got so grey in the beard. He’s a handsome devil isn’t he? My mom is standing with a first cousin below. And that’s a cousin behind us.

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So, peeps, I’m getting old. My cousins are having babies and I’m a second cousin to five (the oldest being a pre-teen 12). Here’s a photo with the newest addition to our family (she’s an identical twin). You can see her sister in a matching outfit through the door. I remember when her mom was still in diapers!!  She’s so STINKING precious. Oh, those are two more cousins behind us.

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Here’s a first cousin. We’re only 30 years apart :-) That’s another first cousin behind us to the left.

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And a first cousin from my generational cohort.  That’s another first cousin behind us. I can’t even count all the cousins. I think… 15 first cousins plus the five second cousins were in attendance.

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Super happy with my dress. I’m very pleased I was able to wear it in honor of my grandmother. Because of an incident, she was not physically able to attend her celebration on Sunday.  It was a wonderful tribute to her to see how many people she’s impacted. If you have any extra prayers and positive vibes to give out, they’d be greatly appreciated right about now.

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Vintage Simplicity 8276: House Coat, Art Smock, Lab Coat, Beach Cover Up

I don’t really consider myself a modest woman per se. I think there is an appropriate mode of dress for most situations and the bulk of humanity ignores said accepted rules (i.e. football jerseys in church and pajama pants to the grocery store). One thing that is generally acceptable, but I’m too self conscious to do is walk around a beach or pool in my swimsuit. I. Just. Can’t. Not even in my skinny-but-thought-I-was-fat-20s. I always tossed on shorts or a tee shirt when I wasn’t in the water. There was a time in middle school where I would only get IN the pool wearing a tee shirt over my swimsuit. Heh. I actually didn’t even start wearing a two piece until near the end of college. Hmmm, maybe I am actually a prude.

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And, this is why I love that I can sew.  Even when they are super simple garments. Still feeling inspired by my trip to Detroit and the Motown Museum in May, I turned to my small vintage pattern stash when invited to the Eastern Shore to visit the boyfriend’s parents. No freaking way was I trotting around in my swimsuit in front of them. Especially because all we do is eat. Pizza, french fries, latkes, bread, ice cream, Italian ice…. you name it. I eat it when we visit. This 1969 beach robe from Simplicity was just what I wanted.

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I immediately knew I wanted to use a vintage bed sheet for my fabric. This plaid just stood out to me at the second thrift shop I visited. Oh, and check the sewing pattern at the top (which I didn’t take with me). There’s a yellow and pink plaid right there, BOOM.

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The colors are just the right era in bright yellow, orange and pale green. And, a beach robe hides a multitude of sins…

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The beach coverup was generally constructed when Trena came up last weekend for our annual Tour Dem Parks 25 mile bicycle ride through the City (gratuitous photo below). Yes, that is now my third bicycle. Yikes.

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She said it looked like a lab coat. I thought it looked like an art class smock. My boyfriend thought it was a new jacket for work…. None of these what a beach coverup should like like, right?

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Trena convinced me to lop of eight inches!! She also suggested I add tabs to the sleeves (I didn’t). And not to wear it buttoned (true dat).

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And here I am. With the teeniest Afro puffs known to mankind, heh. I’m obviously, not at the beach. But, in the backyard of the house we stayed. The view… amazing.

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You have to love vintage for putting darts into a casual garment. Darts my friends! There are also raglan sleeves and deep patch pockets that I placed on the bias.  In addition to shortening the hem by eight inches, I also lopped about four off the sleeves.

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The coverup reminds me of the house dresses my mom and aunt still love. I may have to whip one up just to wear around the house.

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But, for the beach, this is kind of ideal for me. I felt like I had some sun protection, felt confident prancing about and stood out along the boardwalk. I need to make another one in a solid material as I have two swimmers I made last year that are crazy prints. For real, totally happy with this simple cover up.

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Yellow, Black and White Maxi: Simplicity 3503

It’s not too often I outright copy Trena and make something because I saw hers. I mean, I get salty when I give her unloved fabric and she turns it into a masterpiece. When? Like this shirt and this dress.  I already know I’m going to be mad when she sews this fabric from China. Four years ago Trena made (now out of print) Simplicity 3503 and I was j-e-a-l-o-u-s. Don’t get me wrong, I’d made my own version and a version for a friend. But, Trena’s was stunning with the use of border prints. And, the version for me I gave away to Liz because I didn’t understand a FBA back then. Once I knew I needed an FBA, I just didn’t like the way the dress fit. Ann, if you ever ever ever get that fabric again, please send me a telegram.

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So, here’s my newest Simplicity 3503 (complete with a FBA), a good four years after the maxi dress trend peaked, lol. I’ve wanted to add more yellow to my wardrobe the last two years too. The fabric was in my stash from Fabric Mart and I scooped up an additional two yards at the DelMarVa blogger meet up last fall. I needed it too because of the way I wanted to cut out and place the various prints.

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This is one of the prettiest things I’ve made lately. But, guys. It’s a kind of a hot, happy-hands-at-home mess.

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1. I really really detest facings and sewing knits by turning under and stitching from the outside (wrong sides facing each other). I think it never looks nice and always looks homemade. My halter looks all kinds of janky on the outside edges because of it. And, I’ve already pressed the life out of it.

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The inside of the dress is also self-lined.

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2. To get the waist to fit nicely (I really shoulda/ coulda cut a whole size or two smaller), I took in the waist a few inches. I forgot that my facing knit at the waist band is SUPER stable. Which meant I couldn’t get the dress on after taking it in  as it wouldn’t stretch in the waist. To ‘fix’ that, I just sliced into the facing at the sides.

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Now, I could rip out the waist, recut and resew. But, I’m already not happy with the way the halter looks. I am going to put this dress in the magic closet and see if I have the energy at some point to redo the waist. But, for now. I just don’t have it in me.

You can see a little peek of my bra on the left under my arm. Well, that’s after I took the straps up by two inches on each side. I also made a one inch FBA and shortened the dress by four inches.

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Half of this was sewn on my new-to-me serger, the Babylock Imagine. So far, I am in love. I’ll do a separate post on it after I’ve sewn a few more items. But, this garment also made me get a serger. My Euro-Pro was chewing up and eating holes (while shredding and breaking threads) in this dress and many of the other knits I’ve tried to sew the last year.  I was so frustrated I wanted to *throw* it against a wall. It has served me well low these past 8 years. But, at $400 for the price from HSN. It has served its purpose and I bid it adieu to the sewing machine farm in the sky.

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I wore the dress today to a wedding/ logistics- rehearsal. I’m officiating the wedding next weekend at my friends’ home. Doesn’t a maxi dress just make you think of Miami and a pool?  In my mind I’m making something new to wear. But, I haven’t even started….

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Lots of Little Things

The last time I wrote, I promised I’d have photos of my latest project on me. Well, little did I know it would be a incredibly windy and biting 36 degrees (2.2 celsius) on Sunday when I wore the dress in Michigan. In case you’re wondering, that’s 35 degrees cooler than it was when I left Baltimore. It was just too cold to take pictures outside. I was hopeful that I’d get some pictures inside but, things were so rushed that it just didn’t happen. My occasional photographer didn’t seem all that interested in having a photo shoot for my sewing blog on the day he graduated from law school. The nerve.

I did get one photo in my dress. But….

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The lighting wasn’t good. My flash didn’t go off. I look sort of goofy. My waist (and fabric) were grabbed so tight that I look about three months pregnant in all the pictures!  The darts! They hurt my eyes. Blergh.

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I’ve not attended anyone’s graduation since my own. So, I was feeling super old school at this ceremony. I love this version (my third) of this Burda pattern.  I am obsessed with this seersucker. Karen gave me the remnants of her pieces of it. At this point this seersucker is… five years old? I’ve used it for several projects in the past. If I could get more, I’d buy a bolt and make a whole summer wardrobe just from this seersucker.

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Because it was so fricking cold, I did get to wear this awesome vintage leather coat that was gifted to me by a co-worker. Listen, people. There is something to be said for being known for loving vintage fashion.

This colleague kept telling me she was moving and cleaning out her closets and had some coats to give me and I kept rolling my eyes. I have been the sorry recipent of terrible 80s patterns and ratchet clothing from other people. She dropped them off in a garment bag and it sat in my office for weeks before I took them home or even bothered looking. I finally opened the bag and this and another GORGEOUS  black wool  with a fur collar coat were inside. I rocked the hell outta this jacket over the weekend. This makes me want to save ALL THE VINTAGE in the world. Like, all of it. I want to own it ALL, wear it ALL and be fabulous in ALL OF IT. ME ME ME.

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It only took my third trip to Michigan to have time to sightsee. I’m always here for a few days and running in and out of town on other people’s schedules. But, this time, I finally got to go to Detroit! I’ve always wanted to see Detroit since it’s compared so much to Baltimore as a urban city with a blue collar background (and massive population declines). We were super short on time but I made sure we went to the Motown Museum.

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Oh. Em. Gee. We couldn’t take photos inside.  Let me tell you. I grew up listening to the sounds of Motown and was completely stoked to walk the same halls and be in the recording studio where the likes of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, and the Temptations walked and sang.  Especially exciting was their exhibit on girl groups. People, I need you all to be prepared for my style the next few months to be heavily influenced by the 1960 girl groups of Detroit and the Motown sound. I am not playing. Talk about serious black glamour. I’m going to be doing plenty of sheath dresses and empire waists.

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Finally, before I headed out of town, I did get to go to the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo with Robin, which was in Baltimore. I’ve never been to an expo before and my MAIN motivation for going was to check out the Babylock serger with Jet Air Threading and a Juki semi-professional straight stitch only machine. My modern Kenmore’s tension is so wonky that I sewed the above dress on my green vintage Kenmore. I’m in the market for a new machine in a few months.

Well, Brother, Pfaff and Babylock (all sponsors) were there. But, Juki (also a sponsor) wasn’t! I did test out the Babylock Imagine serger and purchased a pre-owned version. I’m picking it up tomorrow (Thursday)!

The fashion piece of the Expo wasn’t nearly where I’d like it to be. I heard Vogue Fabrics attended expos in the past. I like quilting quite a bit and enjoyed that aspect of the show. But, all the bitching and moaning from the vendors about the lack of attendees annoyed me. I mean seriously. I heard at least three stalls complaining about it to either me or to other vendors. I thought it was kind of tacky and a downer on something I’d been looking forward to for months. They thought parking was the reason people didn’t come. They thought crime was the reason people weren’t there. They thought no one likes coming in to a city. Whatever. I’ve never set foot in Chantilly, Va. But, I came downtown to see this. Make of it what you will.

Whew. So, yeah. Lots of little things going on. Just thought I’d get a lot of it said :)

Sewy Rebecca: Conquering the Scalloped Band

In my last bra post, I said I needed to get up to five new bras this year. Well, I’m just about there now with the addition of these two bras. Both are made from the Rebecca pattern by Sewy (a German company) and kits from Summerset on Etsy.

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I did try this brown combo once before in a too small size.

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The brown lace is from Etsy and the white lace with yellow accents from dear Hilde when I went to Amsterdam two years ago.

What’s different about these two bras? I’ve finally conquered the scalloped band that I’ve dreamt of using guidance from Sigrd’s blog.

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On the yellow version, I just did the bridge with a scallop. Not a mirror image. The lace only came in one direction.

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On the brown, the entire front underband has the scallop. Hmm, I should have used brown thread on the lace bits, eh?

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Something else I’m doing different with my bras is using this super narrow elastic from etsy when I reinforce the upper cup instead of clear elastic.  I think it’s 1/8 inch and is also sold as elastic for ‘baby headbands’.

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The other thing with my bras (and why I like to sew my own) is that I have an extremely narrow bridge. You can see in these photos below that my underwire casing actually overlap (double click to enlarge).

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I’m very very pleased with these two bras. What’s next for me and bras? I have one more cut out in pink from Etsy lace.

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And two more kits waiting in the wings. My new goal is to get two week’s work of bras (worn twice each).

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Thanks for all the tips and advice regarding the sheer interfacing (known to me as ‘tulle’ via Sigird). Orange Lingerie has a stash of it and kindly offered to send me a bit. So, this year I’ll tackle some more sheer style bras. I’m not a huge fan of the exposed satin in the lower cup. Snags too easily.

There may be some clothes coming again from my sewing machine, lol. I’ve been really absorbed at work and can only handle smallish projects now. But, I need a dress for a graduation in May. And, over Memorial Day I’m officiating my second wedding for dear friends of mine. So, I need to get on the stick.

Sewy Rebecca: Valentine’s Day Edition

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So, I’m a month and one holiday too late. I thought I’d get this sewn in time for Valentine’s Day and at least inwardly celebrate the day. But, alas, I lost my mojo. I was lucky it came back in a spurt Friday night after meeting up with Norma of Orange Lingerie who is in town. After picking her brain about her custom lingerie sewing and asking questions about her upcoming book, I couldn’t wait to get home and sew some lingerie.

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This is my TNT Rebecca Sewy. I cannot get over how pretty my bras are now! I’m still experimenting with the all lace cup. I did ask her about ways I could go more sheer since I’m currently using lace, powernet and lycra in my lower and side cups. I’m going to be working on that sooner or later methinks.

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I’ve got my next bra already cut out. I’m going to play with some lace placement for interest. Hoepfully, a scalloped bridge. I would like to have five bras in rotation so I can retire my RTW ones that I got a few years ago. So, at least three more bras this year.

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I’m sure you all heard my scream when Google Reader announced they were closing. I’ve switched to Feedly for my blog reading. I like that I can add blogs with a double click in Safari and Chrome. It imported all my feeds and bookmarks from reader. And I don’t have to sort out what ‘Follow me on Bloglovin’ means.I like that you can chose the format your feeds show up in (this is ‘magazine’).  Finally, it syncs across the multitude of mobile devices I read blogs with.

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Assembly Line Sewing: Fehr Trade’s Lacy Thong

My underwear situation is pretty tragic. Once I figured out a year ago that I could sew my own panties, I refused to buy them any more (even at $5 a pair). Except, I also wasn’t sewing them either.

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It was Trena who mentioned she’d used the Under Armour thin wicking fabric from my local Guss Woolens’ to make drawers.  I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me! They told me in the shop it was used for making underwear at Under Armour.  Trena  kept going on and on about how great the fabric was for underwear (great recovery, breathable, non fading).

Last February, Kathi R. sent me a stack of pretty stretch laces from FIDM. Lots of gorgeous colors! So, when Melissa released her free Lacy Thong Pattern, I knew I had no excuse but to get to sewing.

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For my first sample, I used a black stretch lace from Fashions Unlimited. I think this was like 50 cents to 1 dollar a yard. Once the first version was sewn and worn with success, I got to cutting.

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And assembling

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And sewing. I found my 1/4 inch foot super helpful with the smallish seam allowances.

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In my mind I was making 10 pairs. But, started to lose steam, lol. Here are the six of the seven that I completed.

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My prior lace thong pattern draft is all lace and I don’t find that the greatest for every day wear. But, this version with the jersey is perfect. A little sexy but still practical.

What do I love about this pattern? It’s simple. You don’t need a serger. The style is super cute. I can’t thank Melissa enough for giving us access to it!

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What don’t I like? It’s kind of tedious to sew like this. I wouldn’t recommend batch sewing unless you are in dire straits (as I was). Otherwise, just sew them as you feel like it!

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I’ve updated the Lingerie Resources tab at the top of my blog. A few etsy shops and bra components were no longer active. And, I added another three or four etsy shops I found from searching.

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I have some one inch wide lace on order to make a similar batch of the Rosie Lady Shorts from Cloth Habit. Not my usual style of underwear, but I thought the pattern was super cute and would be great for working out.

I picked up several yards of gray and royal blue thin wicking from Under Armour at Guss Woolens today to try it out soon. Guss Woolens doesn’t have an online presence  but will mail samples out and take phone orders if you’re interested.

Long Lingerie Sewing Weekend: Pale Sea Breeze Rebecca Sewy Bra

It was February last year when I made my last bra. I guess sewing is a bit cyclical isn’t it?  What really happens to me is that Sigrid starts posting her incredible creations and I get a crazy itch to try again. My plan was to make like ten pairs of Melissa’s excellent Lacy Thong pattern. But, I got distracted halfway through and decided I wanted to sew a new bra. While the bust was about right in my two home sewn bras, I found the elastic in the cup flipping under when worn. It started to annoy me so much that I discarded the red bra and used the silver one on my dress form.

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I poured through Sigrid’s tutorials and posts on bra sewing. It finally occurred to me that maybe I needed to sew the channeling so that it flipped outward to be on *top* of the elastic instead of inward and away from the elastic. I dashed off an email to Sigrid with the subject ‘Dumb Question’. Once she responded, I sewed in the channeling correctly (outward) and had my almost perfect bra.

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This all lace version of the Rebecca Sewy has been cut out for a year now. I went with all lace instead of just the upper cup. The lace is from an Asian market vendor on etsy and the lycra kit is from Summerset also on Etsy.

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I mean, it’s the gorgeous lace bits that made me want to start sewing my own bras!

Guys, the elation I felt when I put this bra on and it *fit* in indescribible. The entire time I was sewing it, I thought it was looking too big in the cup. It’s also frought with many little errors.

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I plan to sew one or two more straight away. My three RTW bras are about three years old and need to be retired soon. If my next two come out correctly, I will *finally* sew my complete kit from Amsterdam. I’ve been saving this one for when my bras are almost perfect.

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After all this, I will never begrudge the cost of a RTW bra. Especially one with all lace. Think, there are about five pattern pieces. I have them cut from lace, powernet, and lycra. There is a lot of little small seams and details. It’s a lot of work, but so worth the effort!!