Posted in sewing

Sewy Isabelle Bra or Random Complaints About My Chronic Disorganization

I’m not the neatest person (massive understatement. i am a huge slob). A few years ago I couldn’t place my hands on my Rebecca bra pattern from German pattern maker Sewy. I decided to re-order the pattern and of course, my original turned up a few months later.

Last month, after spending a small fortune on RTW bras, I decided it was time to make my own again after a three year hiatus. I started tracing my Rebecca bra in my new size (75G vs 70G) only to discover I’m missing half the pattern. Not just half the pattern, I’m missing BOTH page twos of my pattern. I’m so annoyed with myself. But, after stewing about it all night, I just couldn’t bring myself to order a third copy. That Europe to US shipping is no joke.

Solution: take a stab at my Isabell bra from Sewy instead. I’ve had the pattern for two years and a fabulous English translation thanks to reader Marianne. I made a plea for help and she offered to translate it.

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Anywho, back to the pattern. I can’t even show this on my dressform because my dressform back is wider than mine and not as malleable.

I guesstimated my size in Isabell. When I made the Rebecca bra, I was a 70G. But, had to pinch out some volume from the lace cup and reduce the length of the band. At the time, I was a RTW 32F. Right now, I measure between a 34G and 36H. I can wear both, but neither comfortably. I figured going up one band size and one cup size would get me close. And, it turns out it was spot on with no further alterations.

Notions: size 44 wire (34F), findings from BraMakers Supply, fabric is scraps from this wrap dress. Lace is from a warehouse sale locally and like a $1 a yard.

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These straps were purchased in Amsterdam from Kantje Board. They are plush and wider at the center and narrow at the bottom. I only bought two but wish I’d bought a dozen!

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I’m severely out of bra sewing practice. So, my finishing isn’t nearly as neat as I would like. But, I do quite like this bra and wear it frequently.

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I’ve started a second one in beige. But, need to dye some findings to match to finish it up. Dye purchased. Just shear laziness in play.

I really hope the rest of my Rebecca pattern turns up :-/  It’s sized for non stretch lace and most of my haul from Kantjeboord two years is ago is non stretch.

Also, when checking around for reviews of Sewy Isabell, I stumbled on  Brina’s Sewing Room– a German language sewing blog – that talks about taking classes at Sewy and the store they have. Have a peek at her blog post and photos. I for sure thought Kantjeboord outside of Amsterdam must be the only store of this kind. But, based on their photos, it looks like Sewy near Colon offers the same stock.

Posted in sewing

Finally. A White Singer Featherweight.

Over the summer a neighbor posted on the community listserv that she was destashing fabric as she prepared for a move. Never one to turn down fabric, I went over for a wee looksie. Turns out she’d been a one-time reader of my blog (pre-graduate school) and collected vintage sewing machines.

And, then she showed me this:

I immediately began trying to figure out if I could talk her into selling it to me. She wasn’t particularly interested in selling. And I was a motivated buyer. I knew I was leaving my job soon and finally merging bank accounts with my husband. So, now was the time to spend money any way I wanted. Plus, it was literally in my backyard. I kind of felt like it was meant to be mine.

Now, despite being lucky enough to buy  a black singer Featherweight in 2009, I’ve *always* wanted a white one. But, they were too far away and too expensive.

Short version: it took about two months of gentle prodding, prying and begging emails before she put a price on it. And, I took it. Happily.

Meet my squad.

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It’s a 3/4 sized  Kenmore 1040 (Kenny, acquired in 2007) , my main machine a Bernina 830 (acquired 2013). My new-to-me white Singer Featherweight and my black Singer Featherweight. I just realized that each of those machines has a sewing community connection! How cool is that?

The first project I decided to make with my new machine was a  random carrying tote and sewing pad. So, very crafty of me, eh? I’m not prone to craft projects. But, I was housesitting the weekend I bought it and thought would be a fun thing to do that didn’t require my full sewing room. The pattern is available from The Singer Featherweight Shop.

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My fabric is a fun Dutch postal fabric I bought while in Amsterdam on our honeymoon three years ago. I think I thought I was going to make shower curtains from it. Then realized I wasn’t going to make a shower curtain from anything.

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To be funny, I decided to line it with orange fabric. Because, Netherlands = House of Orange. Get it? I often amuse myself with totally nerdy stuff.

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There’s one piece I didn’t finish, the folding bed cover for storage. I may or may not get around to it. For now, I have the unfinished piece just sitting there, heh.

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I am officially the cat lady of sewing machines.

Posted in sewing

All the Fashion in the Western Reserve

My dearest childhood friend Stephanie lives in Youngstown, Ohio. We met back when our families were stationed in Germany during middle school. She has three great kids and a full time job so we don’t get to see each other too often. She’s just a five hour drive away so Jordan and I took the long Labor Day weekend for a mini break in the Western Reserve. As per usual, I managed to squeeze in as much sewing / fashion related stuff as humanly possible. Since this is a long post with many, many photos, I’ll just help you along here here and let you jump to the parts that might interest you most. I was lucky enough to spend time looking at quilts and knitting at the The Canfield Fair, fabulous performance costumes at the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and checking out the amazing costume collection at the Kent State Museum.

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Sewing Machine Tractor. Of course.

When Stephanie suggested the Canfield Fair for our Friday plans I was all about it. And, not just in for the deep fried cheese curds.  The Canfield Fair is the largest County Fair in the country! I went online and saw they had quilting exhibits in addition to hand and machine knitting. There was fashion sewing too, but I didn’t grab any photos of those.

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While there were just a few items that were machine and hand knit, I was BLOWN away by the gorgeous hand and machine made quilts on display.
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After we left Youngstown, Jordan and I headed up to Cleveland for the remainder of the weekend. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was top of our list.

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As per usual, I beelined for the costume display.

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Oh, Queen Bey. Why did I recognize every single one of the seven costumes on display?

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Also, I totally want to be a Supreme.

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On Sunday, we drove an hour outside of Cleveland to Kent State University so I could see a few of the current exhibitions from their museum’s costume collection.

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Closing this weekend in the incredible Flapper Style: 1920s Fashion. Holy beaded beauty. Flapper Style is a wonderful collection of period pieces. The 40 pieces (mostly dresses and hats) are grouped by themes of Romanticism, Art Deco, Exoticism and Abstraction. Here are a few of my favorites:

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Following the incredible Flapper Style, I went to view the Fashion Timeline exhibit which does a remarkable job of tying fashion to current events. From the advent of fabric production to the invention and adoption of the sewing machine, fashion is tied together.

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They started with the mid 1700s and wrapped up with the mid 1960s (You can see the interactive timeline here). As I’ve noted before, I have very mixed emotions when it comes to vintage clothes. For me, it’s important to not look at the amazing fashion of the past and idealize what were generally crappy times for people of color and women. I love fashion and costumes and can deeply appreciate the clothes for what they are. But, it’s odd to stand around and admire an antebellum dress that was afforded on the backs of  slave labor (says the girl who holds Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird up as her favorite books of all time). Or, love the  details in a dress from the 50s and 60s and not think about the massive violation of civil rights in America.  That said, the exhibit does a good job of noting the part of  our history that made fashion possible, like the invention of the cotton gin.  Or, acknowledging that women in the work place influenced and changed style very quickly.

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Here are a few of the pieces from the collection that really spoke to me.

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The final exhibition I saw was Fashion Designs of Southern Africa. While I was originally most excited about this new exhibit, I was underwhelmed in person. Perhaps it’s because I’m admittedly not familiar with designers from Southern Africa.But, I found the selections underwhelming with not enough context.

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So, that wraps up all the ways I turned our mini break into my fashion tour of the Western Reserve :-). If you can make it to Kent State I highly recommend you visit their compact but well curated costume museum. And, if you’re at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, give yourself plenty of time. I could have spent hours and hours in there. We also did a bunch of other touristy stuff including walking and biking tours that I very much enjoyed. I can tell you for sure though, Cleveland absolutely rocks!

Posted in sewing

Athletic Wear: Jalie 3462, Cora Leggings

You guys.

You guys.

I made leggings that did not require a full seat, full/forward/muscular/fat thigh nor a sway back adjustment.

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Don’t adjust your phone screen. What I speak is the truth. Because, the Jalie Cora Leggings are the MOTHER LOVING BUSINESS. Or magic. But, probably just really well drafted if we’re being honest. Yet, still a strong possibility of magic.

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When it comes to workout clothes, I’m a big fan of leggings. As my thighs have touched since birth, shorts give me continual chub rub and I don’t like to chafe. Leggings are my friend. I made three pairs of these and I LOVE them. They are stylish and comfotable and I felt totally hawt and fit!

Now, one bit of advice I would give should you choose to make these.  Listen is to your inner voice and DO NOT put the lightest color as the inner thigh contrast. Holy stare at my butt Batman!

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Eggplant, grey, teal with an eyeful of me.

After making this mistake with my first pair, I was far more judicious in my color choices with my  second and third pair – making sure to put the darker color at the center. Most of the fabric is from Suzie Spandex in Montréal – which I bought in purple, grey, black, red and blue during PR Weekend there like six years ago. What’s funny is the Jalie women were on that trip and raved about the Suziplex. The accent colors of baby blue and mint green are Supplex from Stretch House, purchased about six years ago in NY

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Black, grey, baby blue w. reflective tape

On my second pair, I added stretchy sew-in reflective tape to the calf and pocket seams (above).  Speaking of the pocket… Do you see my iPod bulging a bit at the back below my waist? It’s a crazy great pocket. It fits my huge android phone, keys and ID too.

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Chocolate brown and mint green

Of the many many yards of athletic fabric I’ve bought including Under Armor, Nike, and general supplex this Suziplex is the best stuff I’ve ever used. And, it’s sadly no longer being made. Melissa from FehrTrade tipped me off that they weren’t selling it anymore last year and I called and placed an obscene order – tariffs and international shipping be dammed! This of course left me with some odd colors (brown, teal, burgundy, and violet). But, I do not care. I will hoard these until they are sold for a $1 a yard at my estate sale.

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I sewed a size X at the waist grading to a Z at the thigh based on my measurements. That’s it. No alterations. No special tricks. No sizing down. No topstitching the seams. I sewed this mostly mostly on my serger and used my coverstitch for the hemming.  I did add some reflective tape on two pairs for some night visibility.

I do vacillate between feeling really good with how these look on my butt to feeling like they show a lot of my butt. It’s so hurrrd being a  woman.

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reflective tape

That’s it. I love them. Please pardon me while I go work out. Or walk the dog. He clearly is ready to go out.

 

 

Posted in sewing

They Call Me The Duchess: Style Arc Gorgeous Gore Skirt and Phillipa Peplum

I kind of went crazy when StyleArc put together several pieces from the 2014 Royal Tour to Australia. After two years, I finally sewed up the Phillipa Top, Gorgeous Gore skirt, and Kate dress from their Etsy shop as copy shop patterns (death to taping!). I would have bought the Catherine too, but it wasn’t available as a PDF.

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I SWOONED over this pink wool jersey Alexander McQueen ensemble.

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The royals, Kate and William, arrive into Adelaide without their son GeorgePictured: Prince William and Kate Ref: SPL743025 230414
Picture by: Splash News

 

Having the same lithe figure as the Duchess (HA!), I decided to whip up my own version using a polyester ponte knit I bought last year from Metro Textiles in the Garment District.

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I wore it this weekend to Jordan’s grandfather’s 80th birthday dinner. And, that’s the only photo I have of it on me. It’s literally 100 degrees here (they are calling it a ‘Heat Dome’) and you’ll be shocked to know poly scuba does not breath. We snapped this on my cell phone for IG in the hotel and bolted for the restaurant.

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Any who, when I first sent the photo of this outfit on my dress form, my friend Liz said “I have to see it on. It looks potentially matronly”. I can see why. First, my dress form approximates but doesn’t mimic my figure. Second, I think we can all agree that perhaps Catherine dresses a little…. mumsy? That said, I’m actually pretty pleased with the silouhette overall on me.

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The Gorgeous Gore skirt is a really terrific beginner pattern and intro to StyleArc.  It’s just two pattern pieces and a really simple sew.  I purchased the 12-14-16 size range. For the skirt, I cut the 16 and ended up taking it in at the waist about three sizes and one size through the thighs. The instructions might be a bit  confusing if you read too fast. But, I sewed each panel with 1/4 inch seams and the side seams with 3/8 inch allowance. I ended up shortening the skirt by two inches and using 1/2 inch wide elastic at the waist rather that 1/4 inch.

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For the Philipa top, I found one online review and read a smattering of comments on other blogs about it being too low cut. Which, I did not find to be the case at all. Maybe because I’m a little busty it doesn’t come down as far as for others? I did also make an FBA and multiple muslins of the top. Why? Because it’s a new-to-me company and my fabric is precious.

Muslin 1:  I  started with a 16, raised the neckline by 1 inch and made a 1.25 inch FBA adding a side dart and shortening the front dart by 1 inch.

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Muslin 2: Dropped down to a 12, put the neckline back where it was and made a 1.25 inch FBA

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Muslin 3: Kept the size 12 (which is still a wee bit big) and reduced my FBA to 1 inch.  I also lowered the side darts 1/2 inch.  FYI, darts can end 1 to 2.5 inches from the apex. Mine still don’t. They are right up on me.

I also changed the 3/4 sleeves to a capped sleeve. Because, poly scuba in the dead of summer.

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And, here’s the back view. I can get the top on fine without unzipping. But, with a zip, it’s easier to get on without messing up my hair and makeup. So, I’m glad I kept it.

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StyleArc is AWESOME and I’m sorry it took me this long to discover them. I love, love, love this outfit. And, maybe someday I’ll actually get more photos of me in it! I hope to make this up in the fall in long sleeves using some of my stashed wool jersey — maybe a nice camel. Wouldn’t that look awesome with tall boots?