Thursday, April 30, 2009

Marble Cake


I just thought this was kind of a pretty cake, although the inside isn't really very marbled. The top is pretty though, and it tastes just fine.

I dyed some lingerie findings today, but no other sewing progress, at least not yet. The night is young?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another Bra

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I have finished another bra, and this one is a keeper. It's made with the first kit I got from ELingeriA, and everything except the upper cup piece is lined with powernet. I have to say that this is a real success in my eyes. It's supportive, comfortable in the extreme, and not bad looking, either. I've learned a few things between doing two versions now, and will once again make a few changes in the next model. I'm planning to do one more before I cut into the gorgeous orange kit fabrics. Thank you Sigrid for the warning about the lace. I'll watch it.

Click for Larger Image

I wish there was a way to show the shape of it without having to model it, but I don't think there is. You'll just have to imagine it.

The one I cut out this afternoon is a nude color except the top cup pieces will be pink/nude lace. It seems to me that in a way it's easier to do a bra with lace because the lace itself hides a lot of construction stuff that otherwise would be very obvious. Even the patterned fabric of this bra shows the seaming, etc. much more clearly than the lace version I did first. Lining the cups with powernet is absolutely essential for me, but it does make the seam allowances much thicker and more obvious. I used kind of a burrito method to seam this, as the Sewy instructions showed, and while it gives a nice smooth finish on top and inside the cup, it does throw all of the SAs to the same side and in the same spot. Not a real problem, except where all of the cup pieces come together. I'm not happy with that particular spot on one cup, and I'm thinking of what I can do to improve it this time. I think applying the lace on top of the joined lower and side cups rather than using a normal seam will work, and should make a much flatter seam area. I'm going to try it anyway.

NancyK asked what bra pattern I ended up using. It's a copy of a bra I have, a Rio by Freya. I used a pin and tracing paper to stab along the seam lines to copy the various pieces. Not high tech, but it works, and I have to say that it was nice knowing that at least the fit should be something I could expect to match the original, and it is. So, if you have a bra you like that is copy-able, it's something to try. One thing about this one that I think made success more likely is that it does NOT have stretchy cups.

Thank you all for the very nice comments on my new fabrics. I'm sure it will be a while before any finished article from any of the pieces shows up here, but in time, they will.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quite The Haul

This morning, the UPS man came, and about a half hour later, the mailman came. Both of them had nice things for me. The fabric I ordered from the Elliott Berman sale came first, and is it wonderful. I've never ordered anything from them that wasn't awfully nice, and I have to say that the first two pieces here exceeded my wildest expectations, and the next two are perfectly wonderful too. The cotton is very nice, but not spectacularly unique like the others, which is fine. I already have plans for some of these pieces and not yet for others, but they're all very welcome.

All the photos have a link underneath them to get you to a larger image, and if you want to see them in their true glory, use the Original size when you get to the photo site.

Gold & Peach Houndstooth
Right now I'm thinking of this for a really frivolous evening coat or spring coat. Spring is about over, but there's always next Spring.

Framed Jacquard with Floral Print
Not sure exactly what, but I think a dressy jacket of some sort. It's just so gorgeous, with a different jacquard pattern in each square, the woven framework, and the gorgeous painterly print in the squares. What's not to like?

Embroidered Jacquard Silk
I originally planned a skirt, but after receiving the fabric, I'm re-thinking it. It's such a tissue-y feeling fabric, very light and yet with body, almost like a gazar, and although it would be great as a skirt, I'm thinking of something unstructured to take advantage of the great hand of the fabric.

Floral Silk Crepe
A beautiful blouse is going to be the end point for this fabric.

Embroidered Citrus Cotton
Either a sundress or a blouse, probably the latter. It's an interesting fabric with the shirred effect between some of the embroidered rows, and I think it could be very nice.

So, that's it for fabric. Meanwhile, the mailman brought me a package from ELingeriA, and also some bobbins and presser feet. No photos of the latter, but here's a bra kit still in the package. The lace you see on top is for the top layer, with orange tricot and matching elastic, straps, etc.

Bra Kit

I also ordered some extra findings, including printed elastic (called Fern) and a plain elastic to match, as well as channeling, closures and underwires.

Elastic & Findings

It's a good thing it came today. Last night I was sewing on the first kit I got from them, and I'm at the point where I am ready to attach the channeling, and I'd used it up on my trial run. Voila, now I can return to working on it. I think it's going pretty well, but as always, it's hard to tell until it's done. I'm using powernet on the lower- and side-cups as well as the band, so we shall see. It's definitely beefier than the first one, which was almost delicate in comparison, and I'm hoping it will be much more supportive. I think it almost has to be.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

No-Pressure Sewing

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Yes, I'm making boxer shorts for Pearle again. I made one pair several years ago, which he promptly told me he didn't care for, and I was not insulted, just happy to have more "me" sewing time. Suddenly he decided he liked them. Of course, I had tossed the pattern at least a year ago. I really wasn't that crazy about the pattern, and now it's no longer available anyway. It was a Vogue pattern, and when I looked, I noticed that NONE of the Big4 currently has a pattern for real boxer shorts. They're all "unisex shorts" which means no fly. Much easier to sew of course, but naturally, it's a no-go around here. I looked on PatternReview, as I knew there was a popular boxer pattern, and ordered the Jalie 2326which has good reviews. It has one view with a CB seam, and one without. I did the version without, as per request, and it was really very simple. As I said, no pressure, and it was very relaxing to sew.

I used a cotton lawn fabric from FFC. It's one of the things I got on their sale a couple weeks ago. I ordered 4 different lawn fabrics for shorts, 3 prints and one plain. I might as well enjoy making them. Lawn is not particularly hard wearing, but it's really soft right from the start, which was my criterion.

About half-way through, Pearle mentioned that he wanted a waistband which opened at the front as well as the fly, but after further questioning, I found he just wanted some adjustability and had a preference for a drawstring. I used elastic in the back and up to 2" each side of the side seam on the front, and stitched the drawstring to the ends of the elastic and ran it through a couple buttonholes in the front. I haven't received a verdict yet on these, and I can see a few things that may be changed before I do any more. I did use one of my machine's bartack stitches at the bottom of the fly, and again just above the side vents.

Here's a close up of the fly.

Photo Link

In non-men's sewing news, I got in on the big Elliott Berman birthday sale the other day, and now I'm eagerly awaiting my package. I think I was somewhat circumspect, but I have some wonderful things coming!

I'm also waiting for another package from ELingerieA, which should arrive shortly. Then I will be making another bra and maybe some panties to match. I am not planning to make pants to match the first bra since they would be see-through. Not exactly my style.

Thank you all for the encouraging comments on my bra. There were also a couple questions about my bra that I thought I'd try to answer.

Anne asked if it was awfully expensive to order from ELingerieA since they're in Germany. I would have to say that it depends. Their prices translate into dollars very well, and often beat US sources, and they have lovely things. The shipping on my first package was extremely reasonable. I queried the S&H on the second, as it seemed much higher, and they adjusted it so it was very acceptable. So, don't ignore sources without checking. There's a lot of variation.

KarenDee asked if this bra has the same uplifting properties as a RTW bra. I have to say that this particular bra does not, but I know why. The band is stretchier than I thought it would be, and so it's too big around for really good support. The straps should be wider too, but I had these on hand, so I just used them. Other than that, it's pretty good, and if I change the items I've mentioned, I think it will be very good, and at least as good as the bra I've copied. As far as I can tell, the uplift is mainly due to a combination of the band being the correct size (pretty snug) and the cups having enough seaming, and its being in the correct places. I'm sure the 'correct' places are different for everyone and depend on our own shape, so trial and error would seem to be necessary. I'd say get a pattern that's as similar as possible to a bra you like, or trace that bra.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Spring Luncheon with a Basket Dessert

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I hosted one of my music clubs today, and I wanted a festive dessert. Since it's almost Easter, it had to be a basket. Everyone thought this was really darling, and it was quite easy to put together.

I used a slice of orange loaf cake (pound cake would work equally well) with whipped cream on the top, shaped into a nest. Cut a piece of curling ribbon 4"-5" long and tuck the ends into the whipped cream. Add a few eggs (jellybeans) to the nest, and you're done.

Here's what they got for lunch. Chicken salad with poppy seeds and grapes, carrot fingers, snack stick crackers, and mixed berries.

It was a nice menu to serve to a group since most everything could be done ahead. I did make up the desserts right before serving.

Happy Spring, everyone!

Monday, April 06, 2009

I'll Never Sew One of Those

I seem to be the most adamant that I'm never going to do something right before I go ahead and do it. I think I must be giving my arguments the last bit of oomph I can before I give in. This seems to happen with styles I said I'd never wear mostly, and things of that sort.

So, I've said for years that I was not interested in sewing bras. I've made lots of lingerie items, but never a bra. Sigrid's been sewing lovely bras for quite a while now, and I keep looking at them and appreciating them without feeling the need to emulate her activities. Until now. I got help finding my correct size through a fitting thread on Stitcher's Guild, and then realized that all the bra patterns readily available do not come in my size anyway. Sigrid mentioned ELingerieA, a German site, and their Sewy patterns which come in a much wider range of cup sizes. It seemed like a definite possibility. I ordered a pattern and a kit from them, and was very satisfied with the products and service.

I traced the pattern and thought I'd better tape the paper cup pieces together to see if it was going to be pretty close. Well, not even near, so I decided to just trace the pieces for a bra I have. I was very glad to have the instructions from Sewy though, as there are some tricky points that I'm not sure I would have figured out. I also used the bra I copied to make some operations clear.

Since this was a first trial, I used some fabric I already had instead of the kit fabric I ordered. I used a remnant of all-over lace in cream, and backed it with a 15 denier tricot in lavender that I bought years ago with plans to make a robe. I placed the stretchy grain of the lace perpendicular to the stretch of the tricot, negating the stretch, which is what I wanted. I had a scrap of powernet to use for the back pieces, and the scrap I had was so small I had to piece it, which worked okay, but is not as pretty as it could be.

Since the fabric is fairly sheer, I'm doing 'flat' photos only. I can hardly wait to try another one! I can see why Sigrid says this is addictive.

Link to All Photos

You can see where I pieced the powernet on the back piece.

Close up of the cup and underwire placement.