Sunday, July 27, 2014

Guess What I Made this Weekend?!

Yeah.  Surprise right?!  I actually made two during the week, and then one yesterday and one today.  Let me introduce you!

I'm still learning about what fabrics work well together and I like the freshness of this white one with the aqua and green lace.  First of all, the pattern is called 'Shelley' from Bra Makers Supply in Hamilton (I think that I need shares in this company,what with the referrals and purchases that I have been making!!!)  All the fabrics and notions are also from Bra Makers Supply - apart from the gingham flower and beads, they are from my personal stash.  I used the blue and aqua lace on the blue bra here - what a difference there is depending on the main fabric that is used.  I love this bra!

At the same time that I made the white/green/aqua  bra above, I also made this one with the purple lace.  I picked up the lace on my trip to Ann's fabrics, it is a stable lace (no stretch) in a deep purple with white thread that means is picked up beautifully by the main fabric that is also in white.  The gingham flower actually matches somewhat better than it appears in the photo.  Honest!  It took me three evenings after work to make these two white bras - an hour or two each night.  Very simple but very effective!

I made this lovely lilac bra on Saturday.  The lace is a stretch lace from Ann's Fabrics again.  I dillied and dallied for ages trying to determine what combination of fabrics to make this is - and I am really pleased with it.  It will be interesting to see if there is any difference between the  stretch lace on this bra and the rigid lace on the other three bras on this post.

The last bra I made was this delicate pink one, that I made today.  I cut out all the pieces on Saturday evening and timed myself making it this morning - 2hrs 20mins.  Not too shabby!  And that included sewing on the ribbon and pearl bow on the front.  The bows and flowers that I have used on these four bras are ones that I have previously purchased for card making - so check out your scrapbooking aisle for reasonably priced adornments. 

The lace for this pink bra is actually a gathered lace that I have had for years.  I carefully unpicked the stitches that held a band that gathered the lace, gave it a good pressing, and it has turned out beautifully.  It is more like an embroidered tulle and it all looks so very delicate.  The pale colour of this one means that it will get worn a LOT!

I saw that the lovely Carolyn had put up a post today about bra making and using the the proper findings (elastics, rings, sliders etc).  I cannot recommend enough how professional your bra will be if you use the correct bits and pieces.  You need a stretchy fabric for the back band of your bra - but some thing more stable to support your breasts.  Similarly, a good solid elastic is best for the band trim, but something more delicate for the neckline or straps is more appropriate.

And matching rings, sliders and hooks & eyes - gorgeous!!

I used white wire casing (I forgot to pick up the matching lilac - but you can buy it!), but I do like my other trims to match/co-ordinate.  One trick I did read about was about having all the colour up front, and then use neutral fabrics/trims for the back.  Apparently some of the more expensive RTW designers use that trick.  

I do like the insides to look as good as the outsides!!

So here we are - my fabulous four bras for this week!  Carolyn also linked to this video - although it deals with foam cups, some of the steps are the same as the ones that I have used for my soft cups.  I am hoping to be able to share some news for you pretty soon that will help those of you who want to learn how to sew the bras that I have made, but so not want to travel.

Next up really needs to be some matching knickers/boyshorts, so I think that I will concentrate my efforts on that during the next week or two - and then I can have (for the first time in my life) matching underwears!  How exciting!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Boob Camp - Wrapping Up

All good things come to an end - and so did Boob Camp.  But not before I visited Ann's Fabric's and took some photos of the gorgeous fabrics:

What an absolute riot of colour!  The shop carries a lot of stretch fabrics - great for bras, swimsuits etc.  I bought a couple of lengths of 6" lace that I have used to make the upper cups on two bras that I will post in the next few days.  The shop is absolutely overwhelming - in a great way!  If you peer through the doorway (OK, I did.  I got there about 30 minutes before opening time!) it looks like quite a small, compact shop.  Perfect when you only have a short period of time to shop because your sewing class starts soon . . . . . and then I discovered there was an upstairs.  And a downstairs.  And rooms to the back and the side.  Woohoo!

I also took a few photos of the displays in the Bra Makers Shop - what great inspiration these will be:

Well, it has been a great week - I have learned a huge amount and certainly feel confident now in my bra making abilities.  Although, I should let you know that on the last day, I totally messed up the black and red lace bra (and ended up having to finish it off at home) - there would have been so much unpicking needed that I just cut out two more cups - and that is the benefit of working with smaller pattern pieces!  Oh, and the dotty cream foam bra?  I somehow managed to sew the cups onto the band upside down.  Really.  I'm hoping that I won't be making those mistakes again!

So, back to reality and to the work that pays the bills!  I will be stalking Beverly as she takes part in Saskatchewan Stitches - a knitting/sewing/quilting extravaganza that takes place in Humboldt, Saskatchewan each May.  They have some great instructors, so next year I think that I will be packing up the car for an 8 hour drive to take part :)  What course to take next I wonder?  Perhaps a swimsuit?

I hope that you enjoyed these posts about Boob Camp - there was just so much going on that my senses were on overload and I have only manged to articulate a fraction of what went on!  I have three more bras to share with you - ones that I finished/made when I got home, and I am looking forward to making some regular clothes as well.  Incidentally, my bust point is now over an inch higher due to wearing better fitting underwear.  Who'd a thought?!

I hope that I have given you some food for thought - maybe even encouraged you to try making your own underpinnings.  I know that there will be many more bras in my future - and you know that I'll be sharing with them with you!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Boob Camp - Travelling & Socks

Having spent all day sewing (it was hell you know, sheer hell!!) I had the opportunity to go out and about locally.  So let me share some photos with you!

One evening I met up with friends in Port Credit for dinner.  It is due to these friends that Mr. SDSC and I came to Canada in the first place - Tim and I were Police Officers together in the UK so it was lovely to get together and 'swing the lamp'!

Can you see Toronto in the background of the above photo?  It is just about there!

I also had a trip to Ancaster - a little village just outside the main town of Hamilton.  I bought some gorgeous mohair/silk yarn to make a very luxurious scarf . . . . and got some lovely photos!

And I managed to finish another pair of socks . . . . .

It has been one busy week!  Tomorrow I plan on wrapping up Boob Camp with lots of photos of fabrics and some gorgeous bras that I am hoping will be inspirational for you!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Boob Camp - Moulded Cups

The Bra Makers Supply shop in Hamilton is situated in the fabric quarter of the town.  I have never been anywhere like this before, and was thrilled to see so many fabric shops nearby, as well as the art that adorned the streets:


Back to the sewing machine for me and moulded (foam) cup bras were next - this was on display in the shop.  I rather like the whole asymmetrical look of the jersey fabric on the cups:

This is the Amanda pattern.  By this stage of the game I realised the importance of taking 'in progress' photos, so I am able to share the making of this bra with you.  Incidentally, there are two types of foams cups - the moulded ones that I am going to show you here, and foam cups where you use your pattern pieces (without seam allowances where applicable) to make your own personalized cup. 

A small alteration had to be made to the moulded cup and I then covered it with a lovely spotty netting:

I found it quite therapeutic covering the cups - it has to be done carefully so as to not 'dent' the cup, and it turns out that my knee is a perfect stand-in to support the cup!  I am on the fence with this bra - nothing to do with the pattern or the fit - just the whole moulded cup thing.  I've never worn one before, and the foam is quite warm - perhaps it will be a winter bra!

To finish off this post I wanted to talk about some of the recent comments on Boob Camp and pass on some information.  Firstly - thank-you for the comments, you have no idea how excited I get when a comment is left!!

So, in no particular order:

  • Check out this link from Bra Makers Supply.  Here is a list of bra making teachers throughout the world.  It is my understanding that all these ladies have trained with Beverly and deliver the same course that I took - worth looking into!
  • Phillipa - I will email Beverley and ask her about pdf patterns and see whether that is on the horizon or not.  Also, I know that she travels to Stockholm each year to teach bra making (in English!) so maybe that might be an option for you.  It would certainly be a lot closer than Canada!  Perhaps drop them an email?
  • Louise and Ann - the blog Make Bra has a tutorial about making foam cup bras and Cloth Habit has a sew-a-long for making a regular under-wired bra.  The sewing itself is not difficult, I would not say that it is advanced, just that you need to make sure that the different steps occur in a particular order.  I would love to know how you get on!  The course really explained the whole process - but it is not always possible to attend.  I really would recommend it if you can.
Until the next installment . . . . ! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Boob Camp - My First Creations

Like many women - my bras don't fit very well. I make lovely clothes to wear, but underneath it all - my underwear is in a bit of a sorry state. The straps fall off my shoulders, the cups are too large - particularly the bottom half (the lower cup/under cup)- there are folds in the fabric, the band seems to fit OK but slide up a bit at the back. I could go on - but really, I want to tell you about what I learned at Boob Camp and what I made.

The classes are held in a bright and airy room in the back of the shop (Bra Makers Supply). As I did not want to bring a sewing machine with me on the plane, I rented a Janome for the week. It was rather nice to work on - but I think that you get used to your own machines, and I kind of missed my Pfaff. There were just four of us in the class - they can hold up to 9 people, so it meant that there was a lot of time that our instructors - Beverly herself, and Denise - could spend on us individually.

To get things started, we were individually measured by Beverly and she magically produced a bra (from a carefully cataloged collection of over 30 different cup/band sizes) that I tried on - and guess what, it was the most comfortable one I have ever worn!  Apparently I needed a few minor adjustments - the lower cup needed to lose volume, and I need more width in the back strap.  These adjustments were made by Beverly to our master pattern - we used the Classic Full Band pattern, and that included (in my case) splitting the lower cup piece into two pieces in order to accommodate a dart that would take out volume that I did not need.  And then we made up a plain white bra.  Since completing it, it has barely left my body - it is that good!

We used a 'non matching' thread to sew this up (I used a creamy off white) in case we needed to unpick.  And that came in very handy!!!

Next up was to tweak the pattern a little a use some lace.  I auditioned a couple of fabrics - ivory with lace on top:

Or blue with the lace on top:

And I went with the blue - a gorgeous turquoise.  There are three fabrics in use here - duoplex, a fabric with very little stretch that is used for the straps, cups and bridge (the piece that holds the cups in place and attaches to the band at the back) and powernet, a stretchy fabric that is used for the band at the back, and lace - for the decoration.  I also used a handy dandy kit that had all the findings that I needed - elastics, trims, sliders etc, that co-ordinated beautifully with my main fabric.

As you can see, the lace placement makes it look like I have a butterfly on the front.  I added a little lace to the side band as well.  Because I can!!

And here is the finished bra - my 'ta-da' moment!!

And a close up:

I absolutely love it!  I would never, ever have thought of wearing such a gorgeous garment - even if I could find one that a) fit me and b) was within my budget.

Want to see what I made next?  How about a cheeky black and red number?

I used a different pattern for this bra.  Rather than having the elastic trim across the top of the cups, I used the finished edge of some 'oh, so lovely' lace with red embroidery.  There is also another piece to the bra cup itself at the sides, so it looks as though the side of the cups morph into the straps.  This is called the Shelley pattern and looks lovely on because although there is plenty of coverage with the cups - the lace allows a cheeky glimpse of skin.  Very purdy!!!  I have to admit to actually finishing this bra off at home, as part way through this I started on a moulded cup bra.  More of that tomorrow . . . . as well as a glimpse of the inside of another fabric shop that was like an Aladdin's cave - such  gorgeous, gorgeous fabrics.