Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sewing Bras

When I started sewing bras, I was motivated be two factors: desire to learn new sewing techniques, and save money on quality bras.

I started off with an easy and widely available Kwik Sew bra pattern  3594, available for purchase as a download from or as a paper pattern from KwikSew and from Pattern Rreview.

It is a great and easy pattern with instructions - but not for large sizes!
The skinny strap does not offer enough support.
Of course, my choice of fabrics did nothing to rectify this.
I used 2 layers of stretch satin (one way stretch from famous bra maker fabric closeouts) for the cup and powe rmesh for both cradle and wings.
Cradle: the front flat part of the bra, which supports the cups.
Wings: back panels, traditionally made from stretch fabric, to which the adjustable hooks and  straps attach.

Needless to say, this bra offers no support and is quite uncomfortable, even with underwires, the traps stretch and dig into my shoulders.
Besides, I tried dyeing the power-mesh with food coloring and ended up with tie-dyed wings, elastic and hardware.

(And don't let the pretty deep magenta color fool you)

Back to the drawing board:
I saw an ad for Bra Sewing Class on Craftsy!
After watching the preview, I realized that this (for me personally) would be the most optimal way to learn more about bra sewing.
Yes, I Googled and read reviews, notes, even  the instructor's biography and everyone agrred that Beverly Johnson is the main authority on bra sewing.

After taking the Sewing Bras: Construction and Fit course I was finally confident enough to "hack" my bra.
I used the same Kwik Sew pattern and was able to draft and sew a great fitting, lightweight, which fits perfectly.
Bottom cup has been divided into 2 for more support and  better shaping.
I did not purchase any additional patterns, kits or fancy sewing supplies.

I used opaque firm Simplex (Duoplex is more available), plush elastics in different width, salvaged hardware from old bras and the following notions (not a must but nice to have):

  • mini rotary cutter (I used 28mm)
  • craft clips (better than pins, especially with satin, which doesn't like holes)
  • marking pen
  • ruler
  • ball point or stretch needle, depensing on your fabric type

In my next post I'll review other bra sewing patterns I've tried:

MakeBra DL01 foam lined bra
Maya Foam lined bra by AFI

a review of different supplies, sources and notions.

Take a look at my Pinterest "Sewing Bras" Board

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cowl Neck Sweater Knit A-line dress for girls

Although I haven't made the Laundry Day Tee from Love Notions yet, I purchased the girl version as soon as they released it:

Love the easy fit and multiple options on this pattern!

  1. Tunic, Shirt and Dress Length
  2.  4 necklines: scoop, cowl (we are loving right now), hood and assymetrical colar- definitely trying this next
  3. Sleeves: elbow, long tank and bishop (gathered at the bottom)
  4. inseam pockets
  5. high-low hem

First of all, this pattern is definitely great for beginners.
I used sweater knit for both dress and cowl and the dress is a big hit.
Many times, my girls prefer simple pieces of clothing to the frou-frou complicated ones I make.
Great true to size fit, but the pockets were a little low for my shorter girl.

 Design ideas: 
  • Lace overlay over a solid background with lace sleeves and solid assymetrical collar
  •  Denim with flower details (made this! pics to follow)
  • Flower print with sold cuffs/collar

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Free Sewing Patterns I stumbled upon this weekend

This is mostly a placeholder for myself, since I tend to displace online bookmarks, snippets and downloads easily, but of course, everyone is welcome to use these.

I stuumbled upon many free sewing patterns links and decided to list them here for easier reference.
Some require FB group sign up for free codes.

Free Sewing Patterns for Adults

Brigitte Dress - Knit dress with bust darts and back shaping
Coffee Date Dress - sleeveless with a slight scoop neck, a-line skirt, and ruffle detail at the bodice front, petite

Sew Different - many free sewing patterns! tops, t-shirt, dress, party top, drapeneck dress and more
It's Always Autumn - free patterns for Kimono, T-shirt, Sweater Dress, Skirt and Maxi Dress
Cardigan, Tunic, Shirt, Dress and more, size S,M,L in German 
Tonic and Tonic 2 -short and long-sleeve T-Shirt from SBCC - great T-Shirt pattern!
Arrowsmith Undershirt - Men's Undershirt tank, sizes XS-XXL
Skirts, Blouse, Pants - Lekala
Melli Sews - many free patterns with sigh up - PJ, dress, tops, Men's Raglan T-Shirt, more
Love Notions -  Laundry Day T (free with FB grous sign-up)
Beret - sewing pattern
Peg Legs - from Patterns 4 Pirates (free with FB sign up)

Free Sewing Patterns for Children:

Naptime Creations - Free Raglan T Pattern 18m-10t
Slouchy Beanie Hat for kids
Scarlet Dress - from Made by Oranges - very nice girl's dress pattern
Sweatshirt wih Hood and zipper - Lekala
Dashing Vest (12m-14) and Leggings (12m-14yo) - Love Notions

I bookmarked all of the above for current use.
I am sure there are many, many free patterns out there, but I try to bookmark only the ones relevant to my current sewing (with a plan)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

New Patterns: My Image magazines, Kwik Sew, Butterick and McCalls

Who wants to work on sewing projects when there are new patterns arriving every day?
I received 2 shipments in 2 days and one of them was lost by the post office for such a long time, I already forgot what patterns I ordered.

My Image 

I've been waiting to try these for a while. After subscribing to Ottobre (both kids and women) for a few years, I stopped, mostly because there wasn't enough time to sew in dozens of Ottobres I already own.

My Image appealed to me for 2 reasons: size range and the fact that each pattern option is featured in different fabrics and sizes in each issue. I love seeing all the options.

Once they sent an email for Black Friday sale - 50% off and free shipping, and free additional pattern of choice I jumped at the opportunity.

Here are the issues I ordered:


Here is the line drawing for Fall/Winter 2915-2016

 A nice range of sizes and a nice range of patterns: a tunic, 5 dresses, 2 pants, a basic pencil skirt, sweater, cardigan, 2 jackets and a coat.

Here is an example of a skirt as presented in the issue:

 All 6 designs use the same pattern, the only skirt pattern in this issue.
I will post a more detailed review once I actually trace and use the patterns.

Butterick, McCalls and KwikSew Patterns

Butterick B6136 - Katherine Tilton
Such a nice looking tunic!

I love the princess seams, and of course, it's a Katherine Tilton pattern, definitely fun!

Here is another one: Butterick B6218


Two more tops (yes, they were all on sale for $3.99)

And a skirt pattern: Butterick B5466

Whew, that's a lot. Now I need time to sew it all up. I suspect I have enough fabric for most of these.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

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Argyle sweater knit tollder vest progress.

I used the a very simple and free! Dashing Vest pattern from Love Notions for this vest.
Yes, I "fussycut" the front panel as well as back.

This is a fastest, cutest and most inexpensive project and my toddler loves it!

Argyle Sweater Knit Vest
  "Fussycutting" is a term mostly used by quilters, It's way to cut fabric to showcase a certain fabric element, design or motif.

In this case, the "fussycut" was in order to showcase the color cream argyle elements.
I wanted them centered on front panels as well as back.

The process:
Trace the pattern pieces  onto baking paper, tracing paper or template plastic.

Lay out your fabric right side up, centering the design element you want to showcase.

(This pic shows the pattern piece already cut)

Trace the fabric element on your pattern (it doesn't have to be detailed, general outline is fine, but you should be able to see it well)

I traced 2 diamond shapes to make sure the pattern piece is truly centered.

Flip the pattern piece and lay out, aligning tracings.
Pin and cut.

Ready for sewing!
I wasn't happy about the part in the red rectangle, but you can't have everything, right?
I guess the thin sweater knit has uneven stretch.

Sew it up!

Action shots!

By the way, this is size 3 on my average 2 YO.


My toddler is in love! I will definitely be making more of these.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Craftsy Class Sale!

Craftsy Classes on Sale - great Holiday gift!

This is a very quick note, because I truly thinks that it's a great deal.
Anyone who knows me, knows that i love to learn new things.
Crafts, cooking, sewing, science, literature, you name it!
I have taken many classes at Craftsy - free paid, full price and on sale. Quilting, sewing tips, sewing bras (did she say bras???), yes, I make my own bras now, etc.
And this sale is amazing!
I am definitely going to take advantage of it.
I have a long wish list.

Here are some sample sale classes below:

Friday, December 18, 2015

My latest fabric order is here

That took a while. My latest fabric order from BWD Fabrics is here.
All are cotton blend knits.
From top to bottom:
Jade cotton lycra knit
Lightweight Blue Denim Jersey
Black Denim heavyweight cotton lycra jersey
Purple and Fuschia stripe and jumbo polka dots cotton lycra Jersey.

Projects planned for these:
Peg Legs Leggings
Little LDT hooded dresses and leggings
Denim hooded dress
Dolly denim dress
Dolly Jeggings

Links and details soon

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Patterns For Pirates Yo-Yo Henley

One for the boys!
This was my first time using the YoYo Henley Pattern from Patterns for Pirates but definitely not my last.

Great fit for slim boys!

I chose the banded tunic length version and here is why: the shirt is fitted through the body and the band gives us some extra growing length.
Currently it's being worn turned under.

More about options: the big Henley has an unlined hood, thumbhole cuffs , henley placket with snaps and lower band.

The little henley  was maded with wide front placket, hemmed bottom and sleeves, shirt length.
Both are comfy, although for a toddler, I would size next up next time.

Colorblocked thumbhole cuffs: the color-blocking was a necessity and  not a design element : I simply ran out of fabric. As a matter of fact, no scrap of fabric from either color left.

Basically, this pattern will cover all options for T-Shirts for my boys the next few years:

  •  Short Sleeve T
  • Long Sleeve T, 3/4 sleeve
  • Banded Tunic Length
  • Hooded
  • Henley
  • curved hem
  • banded cuff
  • hemmed sleeve, etc.
It will most likely not work for my bigger boys, but the the slim fit is just perfect for the younger ones.
Sizes: 3moth-14 years.

Fabric used: cotton lycra blend. It would also work in interlock, but really needs to have stretch recovery for proper slim fit.
Camo cotton lycra print  from stash and black cotton lycra from BWD fabric on Etsy. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

McCall's M7100 ladies zip cardigan

A new project I started.
Using cotton stretch velour in 2 colors and cotton ribbing.
I really like the darts on the sleeves to reduce bulk and streamline the sleeves.
Using Wooly Nylon in both loopers in the serger to reduce shedding.

Doll Clothes

These are for my daughter's birthday.
All made to fit 18" dolls, we are giving her Journey Girl, but they will fit all 18" dolls.
I used free patterns, graciously provided by 2 designers. Links below.

 Here are the links to FREE patterns I used to make the dolly clothes below:

Pink Leggings and Leggings Skort - Made For Mermaids Bonny Dolly Leggings
Doll T-SHirt -  18" Doll Tee from Peek-A-Boo Patterns

Dolly Dress: I used the Free Tee pattern mentioned  from Peek-A-Boo  and this dress design to add - on a skirt

Pieced Circle Skirt for Dolly - I used a tutorial on Peek-A-Boo blog

Dolly Cardigan: Use the free Dolly T pattern, cutting the back piece on fold and front pieces separately, adding 1" for snap band. Use colorful ribbing for bottom band, sleeve bands an neck band.Use colorful snaps for buttons for closure.

Coming soon: Free Dolly Hat Knitting Pattern

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Quick Update

I had 3 shirts planned for this week.
So far 2 are close to completion.
Don't have correct fabric for the third and every attempted trip to fabric store has failed.
The last one, today by a cute toddler with fever and cough.

Shirt 1:


This one has been quite a project.
The size I chose was too wide in the sleeves and body. I took it apart and re-cut for smaller size.
The main body is cotton interlock fabric with no recovery, so we'll have to see how it drapes.

Shirt 2:

Skinny B*tch Curvy Chick TONIC 2

I love, love the fit of this one.
It's an excellent cut for short curvy girls.
I raised the neck by 1.5'' and not happy with neck binding. Redoing it now.