Corset #3, Butterick 5662 (part 1)

Okay, so I’m starting a new corset.  Using the same pattern as I did with the Steampunk overbust corset.  It’s Butterick 5662, a modern hourglass silhouette that I’m really liking.

Initially I’d thought I wanted this corset to be curvier than the last one, with more hip spring (the measurement between the corseted waist and the iliac crest –the top of the hip bone).  So I’d ignored the good advice about using Big 4 corset patterns:  go down 4 sizes from your measured size when making these corsets because they still have built-in ease.  With a properly fitted corset you need negative ease.

But silly me, not thinking straight I figured I needed to make a bigger size so that I had more room in the ribs and hips.  That was a big mistake.  The first mock up was so huge that it barely stayed up on my torso, even laced fully closed.  The second mock-up, after I’d removed 4 panels from the back of the corset, barely gave any reduction at all.

So I learned my lesson well, and returned to the advice of experienced corset makers:  When using a Big 4 pattern (Butterick, McCall’s, Simplicity, or Vogue):  go down 4 sizes.  And that’ll get you close.

Here’s my third mock-up of this corset, altered to have the top hem come just below the bust, and the bottom hem to come below my hip to my lap.  Much, much better fit, although it’s still a trifle too big because I can completely lace it closed in the back.  And the waist reduction here is only a modest 1.5 inches.  I’m looking for a reduction of 4-6 inches.  So still need to do some adjustments to the seam allowance.  But it’s progress!
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Bejeweled Lace Collar

1896914_10152369812870337_972573470_nIn my post about how to alter a wedding dress that’s too small, I showed a picture of the bride wearing a lace collar I had made to go with her dress.  This was a very special piece, because it included elements from her wedding dress that we had removed in order to turn the dress from a zip-up to a lace-up.  You can see the back of the dress that we altered here, plus a peek at the collar.

lace-doilyWhat led up to making that lace collar for Katie’s dress was a Pintrest pin I’d run across, a few weeks prior.  It was a link to this tutorial for making a Battenburg lace collar, and I immediately fell in love with the idea.  I wanted to make one so badly!  Not having the resources to make the one from the tutorial, I did remember that I had some crochet lace doilies hanging out in my linen closet.  Not Battenberg but they would work, I thought.  I’d pulled the doilies out with plans to dye the doily and make something similar to the Urban Threads one. Well, before I had a chance to do anything with it, I was working on Katie’s dress.

tryon1We’d removed these straps that held up the dress because they kept slipping down her shoulders and they were sequined so they scratched her.  But having done that, her shoulder line seemed rather bare, and the demure necklace she’d planned on wearing was dwarfed by the expanse of skin.  She needed something… and that’s when I remembered the lace collar I was planning to make.  I cut the central element out of the doily, then sliced the remaining circle open so that I could slip the doily around her neck.  Immediately it made a difference!  So I was set in motion to turn the doily into something special.  I had the satin-covered buttons we’d taken off the back of her wedding dress, and the sequined straps.  I just needed some bits-and-bobs to decorate it.

1146441_10152369812525337_974267035_nI hand-stitched the straps to accent the swooping line of each scallop, and I placed the satin-covered buttons in the center of each bow where the peak of each swoop met.  I have an extensive collection of beads, and found some golden pearls that matched the pearls in her dress beautifully; these I dangled with head pins from the center of each scallop around the collar.  The centerpiece is the only thing we purchased for the collar, a simple pearl and crystal brooch from a craft store.

1891278_10152369812770337_282980472_nOn the back of the collar, the long dangles were a happy accident.  We’d been trying different pairs of my pearl earrings on Katie to see which ones would look nice, and I needed a place to set some of the pairs so without thinking, I hooked the ear wire through the back of her collar.  We liked the look of it so much that I incorporated dangling pearls into the piece. The back of the collar where I cut it open is closed with a bit of bias tape and more buttons from the back of Katie’s dress.

steampunk-collar1A few months later, I was working on my Halloween Costume– a Steampunk affair that I recently blogged about.  I was in a huge hurry to finish the costume because an online writer was going to feature my creations in an article she wrote.  Initially I’d planned on making a cravat to go with the costume; but the experience with Katie’s wedding collar changed my mind.  I dyed the doily black using Rit dye, and proceeding in a similar way to that which I used for Katie’s piece, I bejeweled the crocheted lace with satin cord, large crystals, lacy ribbons, and a faceted button.

steampunkcastle1The collar was absolutely perfect.   It fit the theme of what I was wanting to portray without going overboard.  I’d initially tried to use the dangling chain like in the Urban Threads tutorial, but the scale of my crocheted lace was too heavy for it and the chain just looked all wrong.  I’m happier with it this way too, because the faceted button at the center front has more of a vintage-y feel than the chain would have.  I could have used black pearls like I did in Katie’s piece, but I didn’t have any and I was wanting to keep this as inexpensive as possible.  Not including the cost of the doilies when I bought them (I have no idea since it was decades ago), I’d say the collars cost me less than $10 each to make.

I want to thank Urban Threads again for such a great inspiration!

Disc Golf Cart Conversions

Inova brand starter disc golf carrying bag

Inova brand starter disc golf carrying bag

When Allen and I started playing Disc Golf, we bought these beginner carrying bags from the sporting goods store.  They are by Inova and look alot like vinyl 6-pack coolers you’d take to work with your lunch in it.  Not bad for under $20, really.  They’ll hold half a dozen discs comfortably, or stuffed full with about 10 discs.  They have a mesh pocket on the side for a water bottle.  Mine is the red one shown here;  Allen’s is blue.  They have an adjustable strap that clips on at the sides and is removable.  There’s a zippered pocket inside for things like your phone and keys, so that you don’t accidentally lose them if your bag tips over.

We had seen alot of people using all-terrain strollers to carry their disc golf bags, and a chance conversation with another player got us one for $25.  It came in very handy we noticed, especially as Allen’s disc collection started rapidly expanding.  He needed room to carry all of those discs!  But soon the loose discs in the stroller were overflowing and he needed a solution.  Being the incredibly creative man that he is, he bought some jeans at a thrift store, some aluminum solid core flats, and designed his own disc organizer.  It measures 10 inches wide by 19 inches long.

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The outside pockets of the jeans allow him the freedom to hold a LOT of stuff, and the zippered pockets provide that same safety for keys, wallet, and cellphone.  The rainbow suspenders from his early 1980’s college days allowed us to secure the homemade disc carrier to the stroller so that stuff didn’t fall out.  But we soon ran into a problem… the carrier is longer than the seat of the stroller, and the weight of the discs in the bag was causing the bag to indent on the bottom supports.  We were concerned that eventually the aluminum would bend.  So Allen devised a solution:  to create a wooden extension for the stroller that not only supports the bag, but also provides a seat for him if he’s waiting for other players to throw.

allen-conversion Allen-wooden-platform

The platform isn’t attached to the stroller, it just balances on the stroller seat and the frame supports.  That way when we put everything in the trunk of our sedan, the stroller folds up and the platform lays on top of the folded stroller.  If he doesn’t want to sit on the seat area, he can fit a small cooler on there and just bungee cord it to his stroller.  We’ve found that he can use this stroller at all but the most challenging courses.  Many times he’s discovered that the people he’s playing with have asked him if he wouldn’t mind carrying this or that…

10345992_10152544065860337_5799687733227808851_nUntil recently I was happy with my own small Inova starter bag.  But my chiropractor begged to differ!  She said the weight of the bag was causing me some shoulder problems and strongly suggested I find an alternative.  In discussing that with Allen, we decided investing in another stroller was outside our budget.  But didn’t we have a couple of golf bag carts from our traditional golf playing days…??  And indeed we did.  I strapped my Inova starter bag to it to see if it would fit.  In fact I used it this way (minus the cooler, that was just for laughs) for a week or two.  But then my daughter/daughter-in-law/husband got together and came up with a better idea.

golf-cart-conversionThe girls bought me some fabric for outdoor patio furniture and Allen cut a 2×6 to fit the height and width of the golf cart when it’s folded closed.  We bolted the wood to the cart to make it sturdy, then the fabric disc holder ties onto the wood and cart frame to hold my discs.  I LOVE IT.  Saves my back, makes it easy to get to the disc I want, and when I add pockets to the back I’ll be able to hold a water bottle, zipper pouches, etc.  This all folds down and lays in the trunk of the car along with Allen’s stroller.  Both conversions together (aside from the cost of the stroller and golf cart) were under $50.

 

 

 

Overbust corset #1 (Part 3)

1794543_10152373552950337_142070621_nI finished this corset-turned-waistcoat for my Steampunk costume for Halloween.  (You can see Part 1 of this project here, and Part 2 here.)  I used Butterick 5662 as my pattern – I chose it for the modern hourglass silhouette.  It’s a recently published pattern that doesn’t have many online reviews, but I really like it.  There is a gentle waistline without too dramatic an indentation, plenty of room for the ribcage to expand, and isn’t so short at the bottom hemline that belly chub squishes out.

Along with sewing this corset, I also made a blouse, hat, fingerless gloves, and bejeweled lace collar.  I wore it with the skirt that I’d made for my Renaissance costume and the Steampunk-esque shoes I found at Sears.
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Things I’ll do differently next time:

  • Where it sits on my natural waist, it pushes the rest of the corset upward, creating space above the shoulder straps.  I’m short-waisted and should have adjusted the pattern down to account for that.
  • Where the points are in front, it’s too long and digs into my lap when I sit.  I should have adjusted the waist-to-hem length or made the points shallower.
  • Where the laces meet in back, it’s too easy to completely close the corset, so I’ll have to make the back center panels narrower.  I also need to make the modesty panel lace through the laces at two points instead of only one (it shifted on me and took the laces with it).
  • Where the bottom hem is on the sides, I’d like it to come lower on my hip next time, to make it a longline corset. Of course I’ll have to adjust the hip spring for that, but it’s fine.

I’m already planning a new corset using this pattern.  It’ll be an overbust without the straps, and my plan is for it to be a corset I’ll wear under clothing instead of on top.

How To Fix A Wedding Dress That’s Too Small

dresstoosmallKatie is getting married in a few weeks to our youngest son, Mark.  She got a great deal on a wedding dress from David’s Bridal last year, but she’s put on some weight since then; the dress is now a couple sizes too small and no longer zips up in the back.  Rather than getting rid of the dress and spending hundreds of dollars on a new one, I suggested changing the back from a zip-up to a lace-up. This fix is easy enough that anyone can do it.  You don’t need a sewing machine, although that would be helpful.  This is a very inexpensive fix (between $15 and $50).  You just need some basic tools and a yard of bridal loops, plus a square of fabric that matches your gown as closely as possible and some satin ribbon.  This can also be done with other dresses and gowns, so if you wish you could still wear that beautiful dress you bought but it’s now too small– this might be your answer!

Here’s a list of equipment I used:

  • Hand sewing needle
  • Thread that matched the dress as closely as possible.
  • A seam ripper
  • Sewing pins
  • Scissors
  • A yard of Bridal Loops
  • A quarter yard of fabric that matched her dress as closely as possible, for the modesty panel that goes behind the lacing
  • A roll of 1/4 inch wide double sided satin ribbon in a color that matched her dress as closely as possible
  • (Optional) a couple pieces of 175 lb. Duct Cable Tie

loopspinnedStep 1:  Remove the zipper.  Using the seam ripper, gently and carefully cut through the stitches that hold the zipper in place.  This may take some time; go slowly so that you don’t accidentally cut through the fabric.  Once the zipper is free, pull out the zipper and any stray threads.  Save the zipper – you never know when you might need one.  Then take one end of the bridal loops and fold the end down, about 1/4 inch or one loop’s worth.  Place the folded edge against the top of the dress opening as shown in the photo, with the fold facing in.  Be mindful of the direction the loops are going– they should face outward rather than inward.  Pin the bridal loops in place, as straight as possible.  (I readjusted that first pin to straighten it out after I took this photo.)  Repeat with the other side of the bridal loops, on the opposite side of the dress.  No need to cut the bridal loops in half until you’re ready to finish the bottom  That may take a few times of trying on the dress and lacing it down to decide exactly where you want the loops to end, but once you do that you’ll want to leave a little bit of room for tucking the laces under the bridal loops and into the bottom of the dress so they stay hidden.  Finish the bottom of the bridal loops by tucking the ends under and doing a strong seam across the bottom. bridalloops

Beginning at the top of the loops on the first side, hand stitch them in place.  Use very small stitches, so that when you are looking at the outside of the dress, the stitches are barely noticeable.  You want to make sure that the folded area at the base of the loops is stitched down well!  The bridal loops strip is made from elastic cording, and  if the folded area isn’t stitched strongly enough, it can stretch out of shape and cause bunching at the back of the dress.  So I recommend sewing two rows of stitches all the way down the base of the loops– one row close to the large loops where your ribbon will go, and one row close to the bottom edge of the loops. Optional sewing process if you’re going to add boning:  Rather than stitching through all layers of the back of the dress, open out the seam allowance on the dress and stitch the bridal loops only through the seam allowance.  Then stitch the seam allowance closed again.  This creates a pocket – a boning channel – for the cable tie to fit into.  See below for the photos of the dress both with and without boning.  You’ll see why I prefer adding the boning. By the way, this is where a sewing machine is an advantage.  Plus, with making a boning channel you don’t have to be careful about sewing over pearls/rhinestones/beads when you’re attaching the loops to the seam allowance.  And using a machine will give tighter, more even stitches than can be done by hand. beforeboning

Step 2: Once you’ve sewn the bridal loops in place, have the bride put the dress on.  Unroll the entire ribbon from it’s cardboard tube and begin lacing the dress, beginning at the top of the dress and lacing it down as if you were lacing a tennis shoe.  (Please note that the ribbon used in this photo isn’t 1/4 inch wide.  I used what I had on hand at the time, which was only 1/8 inch wide.  But it worked for the trying on of the dress, so I didn’t mind using it for the how-to photos.)  Adjust the lacing as you go; you will probably want to tighten the laces a bit as you’re progressing through the lacing of the dress, and it’s very helpful to have a second pair of hands with this process!  Tie a bow at the bottom of the lacing loops that you’ve sewn in- don’t continue lacing through loops that aren’t attached to the dress.  Adjust the tension on the laces so that it is even and shaped like a V. You’ll notice from the above photo that the dress has some wrinkling at the waistline.  It’s for that reason that I prefer to add boning to the back of the dress, even if there’s no boning elsewhere.  It smooths out any wrinkles and just makes the lacing look nicer.

boninginserted1boninginserted2Step 3 (optional) Here’s a couple photos of the lacing with the boning put into the channels to check their placement and length.  Mark the boning with a Sharpie where it comes out of the top of the gown, then pull the bones out.  Place another mark 1/2 inch below the first mark, as that will be your actual cutting line.  You want enough room at the ends of the boning so that they can fit into the channels but not stress the ends once they are sewn up.  Use heavy duty wire cutters or a sharp pocket knife to cut the cable ties, then round the ends by trimming the corners and passing the ends over a candle flame.  That will melt the plastic enough to allow the sharp edges to become rounded so it won’t poke through the fabric.

tryon1bonedcloseupHere’s Katie being very shy but happy that we were able to save her beautiful dress.  The back still needs the modesty panel and the correct size of lacing. The dress isn’t laced up too tight, just enough to hold the bodice up without depending on the straps for support.  She was able to bend and wiggle and dance just fine, without any shortness of breath aside from her excitement!  Getting out of the dress was a bit of a chore because you have to loosen the laces completely, but in reality it takes less than 30 seconds.  And if the bride gets winded during the wedding, you can always loosen the laces for her.

10003912_10152369812830337_564257538_nKatie decided we really didn’t need the straps of the dress so we removed them.  But after a few minutes we noticed some creasing under the bustline of the dress.  Katie’s fairly well endowed and the weight redistribution by cutting off the straps created a problem.  My answer was to hand-sew a couple of boning channels onto the lining of the front of the dress, to give the bustline support and smoothness.  I was in a hurry and didn’t take photos, but here’s how I did the boning channels:  Take some 1/4 inch wide double-fold bias tape and open it up down the middle, keeping the two outside edges folded under.  Press the bias tape to flatten the center fold line, then pin it down the front of the bodice of the dress on the inside.  Then using very careful hand stitches, stitch through ONLY the lining of the dress, not through the front.  Cut and tip your cable tie bones like you did for the back, then slide the boning into the channels.  Use careful hand stitches again to close the ends of the channels.  This will hold up the front of the dress even under the stress of a heavy bosom.

That lace collar she’s wearing probably caught your eye, didn’t it. You can find a post about it here.

The last thing we needed to do was to make the modesty panel for the back of the dress, to go underneath the laces and cover up whatever undergarments the bride would be wearing.  This can be done two ways:  the quick way and the long way!  With the quick way, you just measure the opening in the back of the dress at it’s widest point and longest point, add 2 inches to each measurement, then hem the edges all the way around and tack the modesty panel to the back of the dress on one side so that the top hem is even with the top edge of the dress.  This works if you’re in a hurry and up against a deadline.  The only drawback to doing it this way is that as the bride moves and wiggles and dances, she’s likely to work the modesty panel partially open and potentially have an embarrassing moment.  But if you’re keeping an eye on the bride’s dress, you can just do a quick tug and adjustment to stave off any unwanted shifting of the panel.

1896914_10152369812870337_972573470_nHowever, if you have more time the right way to do this is to stiffen the modesty panel by using two pieces of modesty panel fabric and fusing them together with some Heat N’ Bond.  Cut the Heat N’ Bond to the same size as the modesty panels, then fuse it to the back of one of the panels with your iron.  Peel off the backing after it’s cooled and place the other modesty panel on top, right side facing out.  Fuse again, then allow the panel to cool before zigzag sewing the sides and bottom edge.  Fold the top edge over and do a nice straight hem.  Then tack the panel with hand stitches to the lining of the dress, making sure the top edge of the panel lines up on both sides with the top edge of the back of the dress.  If you want to make the modesty panel uber secure, put a pair of grommets about the middle of the panel and run your lacing through those grommets halfway down the back of the dress.

 

Overbust Corset #1 (Part 2)

Last week Allen and I made some progress on my overbust corset.  (If you haven’t read part 1 of this project, you can find it here.  And you can find Part 3 here.)  We worked on cutting and tipping the spiral steel bones.  I want to give a huge shout out to Baroness Violet from Steam Ingenious for their fantastic tutorial on how to do this!  I’d have been completely lost without her advice.

steel boning arrivesThe first thing we did was to order the spiral steel from corsetmaking.com.  If you’re thinking of making your own corset, this website has very good prices and reasonable shipping, with a wide variety of corsetmaking products to choose from.  Their shipping was fast, and they even answered a question I had within 24 hours.  Made me a happy customer likely to return.

linemens pliers from searsI explained to Allen how to cut and tip the bones from the Steam Ingenious tutorial.  The important part is having the right tool to cut the steel!  You can get the steel cutting tool from corsetmaking.com. but it’s about $40.  Or you could get a pair of Lineman’s Pliers for $16 at Sears.  Fortunately for us, Allen already owned a pair.  They look a little worse for wear, but they’re good stuff.  The thing about cutting steel is that if the pliers you use aren’t made for it, you’re likely going to ruin them.  So don’t just run out and grab any old pair of cable cutters.  Even with the Lineman’s Pliers, it’s going to be tough to do.  Having a man around with strong hands is a definite bonus.  And don’t forget eye protection!

cutting the steel boningSo we measured the length of each boning channel, minus 3/4 of an inch (to allow for the length of the boning tips and the binding seam).  It’s not a good idea to have the bones in their channels so that they butt too tightly against the ends of the channel, because that gets in the way of sewing on the binding, because they may cut through the binding and work their way loose out of the channel.  But if they are too short, they’ll possibly twist in there.  So that’s why there’s a happy medium somewhere, and we subtracted 3/4 of an inch, figuring that would be about right.  Did I mention wearing eye protection while you do this?

heat shrink tubingNow the next part is what is so, so ingenious about the Steam Ingenious tutorial.  She used heat shrink plastic tubing to tip the bones.  I’m in awe of what a simple idea that is.  And talk about inexpensive.  Oh and did I say easy?  Yeah.  All of those things.  You can pick up the heat shrink tubing at any hardware store.  We went to Lowe’s, and found this tubing by Ideal.  If you’re unsure about what size to get, it will depend on the width of your spiral steel.  Mine was 1/4 inch wide, so I bought the 1/4 inch wide tubing.  You’ll just cut small sections, about 3/4 inch long to tip your bones with.

shrink over candleNext, we lit a tea light candle to shrink the tubing around the end of the spiral steel.  You could also use a heat gun if you’d rather do that.  We have both but we found that the candle was just a little easier and less cumbersome to work with.  Bonus to that is, it’s cheaper than using the electricity for the gun.  Allen just held the end of the steel boning with the tube on it over the flame, about 1/4 to 1/8 inch above the flame, and allowed the rising heat to shrink the tubing.  Rotating the steel so that both sides shrink is important.  It took less than 30 seconds for the tubing to shrink, and we didn’t want to get it directly into the flame because it could actually burn.  But more likely it would weaken or get too thin– that happened with one of the tips we put on, and we had to put a second one over the top of it and shrink that one down to cover the steel that got exposed.

crimp the end of the tubeCrimping the end of the tubing is important, so that the steel doesn’t wiggle it’s way through the tubing and cut the fabric.  We just used the edge of the pair of scissors we had cut the tubing with, pressing the end of the tubing closed.  Once that tubing cools, then trim the corners of the tubing rounded so that they don’t fray any fabric in the boning channel.  That’s easily done with the scissors.

sliding the boning into the channelOnce Allen finished tipping a spiral steel bone, I’d slide it into the boning channel to check and make sure it fit.  And it was a good thing I did, because I made a mistake on one of the bones when I measured it.  That bone was about 1/2 inch too long.  It wasn’t hard to cut one end and put another tip on it.  But if for some reason I’d accidentally told him a length that was too short, then I’d have just set that bone aside and used it on another corset.  So no loss if that happened.  That’s one advantage of buying the spiral steel in a coil rather than buying the individual bones.  If you’re wondering what the brown fabric is, that’s the underside of the corset fabric.  I had sealed two fabrics together using Heat N’ Bond to make one strong layer for making this corset.  It’s also the same printed duck cloth that I’d used for the underbust corset that I made.

trying it on againTrying the corset on after adding the steel bones — we were both soooooo happy with how the steel lays in comparison to the duct ties.  I mean, the steel bones are flatter and so they lay better in the fabric and are less noticeable.  They conform to the curve of the bust, which the duct ties just cannot do.  We both agreed that the next corset will be all steel bones.  It wasn’t that much more expensive than buying the duct ties — maybe 50 cents more per bone.  10 yards of boning was about $15 including shipping.  I had only resisted getting steel bones before because I was impatient and I didn’t want to wait for the steel to arrive.  Well, trust me.  You want the steel.

So we had a mild surprise when Allen laced me into this.  He could get the lacing completely closed!  I hadn’t anticipated that, and I was actually a little disappointed.  Usually a corset won’t lace down all the way until it’s been “seasoned” – kindof like breaking in a brand new pair of 100% cotton jeans.  Know what I mean?  You have to wear them a few dozen times before they really feel comfortable.  It’s the same thing with a corset.  Initially there should be a few inches of gap between the lacing sides, and as the corset gets broken in (seasoned), the corset can be laced down tighter because the fabric has loosened up and stretched a bit.  So.  That’s why I was kinda disappointed that this one laced down all the way on only it’s second try-on.  I guess I underestimated the size I needed.  I’ll plan on going down a size for the next one.

Yes, there will indeed be a next one!  In spite of the size being a little big apparently, I actually really like the shape and fit of this corset.  It has a “modern fit” – which means the waist is more or less balanced in how the corset is cut.  It’s not cone-shaped like a Victorian corset, but instead a gentle hourglass.  Better for modern figures that haven’t been trained to wear corsets since childhood!  Even with it laced completely down, I could breathe and had some upper torso movement inside the corset.  Now probably some of that is due to the fact that my ribcage is a little small for my torso.  But.  It’s not going to be an issue.  And besides — this corset will be worn over a blouse so that will mean I’m probably not lacing it all the way down at first anyway.  It’s good.  It’s all good.

My next step with this piece is to decide what I want to do with the back.  If you recall Part 1 of this project, the back of the corset dips down toward the bum just like the front does.  A waistcoat doesn’t do that; so I’m tempted to cut it straight across at the back, and I haven’t added the final grommets in case that’s what I decide to go with.  But Allen and I were discussing it, and he thought that if my plan was to wear this corset with skirts, that the dip down the back might be more attractive than a straight cut across.  And I think he has a point.

Lastly I’ll get the self-binding put on (that means a binding that is made from the same fabric as the outer shell of the garment).  Making seam binding is fun, actually.  A little zen.  And when this is all done, Allen and I will do some glamour shots with it on to show you how the final piece looks.  I’m getting excited for that!

Sewing A Bra (Part 1)

Since I’m having a good time making corsets, I thought I might try my hand at making a brassiere.  I’d love to have pretty, well-made bras that fit me perfectly and don’t cost me a Victoria Secret Angel’s fortune!  I found that there are a number of bra patterns online to choose from, depending on the style you want.  I chose Elan’s 645 underwire style with two options, a lace panel at the top of each cup, or a solid fabric panel.

Another reason I chose this Elan pattern was that it was recommended as one of the bra pattern options on a Bra Sew-Along that I found.  It’s a great way to start this new (and, admittedly a little daunting) project with the assistance of a group of people who have already paved the way.  I’m learning from their examples of success and failure!

bra fabricsI went to the fabric store looking for something like what the illustration showed, which was incidentally just what I wanted: a shiny black fabric and a pretty lace.  I chose something maybe a little unconventional: a black performance 4-way stretch.  It’s unconventional because it has that lame’ wet look to it.  I hope it works!  I also bought a stretch lace that I fell in love with.  Gorgeous turquoise embroidery at the top.  I was super excited about it until I saw the price:  $26 a yard!  But I had a 50% coupon and the yard was enough for at least two bras and maybe inserts in a cami and tap pants, so I was willing to pay that price.  Besides, I reminded myself that quality, handmade bras that are custom fit can run into the triple digits in price!

I’m going to be working on this bra concurrently with working on my corseted vest, so there will be more posts to come on this adventure.  But if you’re curious and thinking you might like to make your own bra someday, take a read through that Bra Sew-Along.  Might convince you that you can, indeed, make your own custom-fit bras.

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