Thursday, April 17, 2014

Slip Sew-Along #4: Bust Adjustments

Though my lingerie pattern B6031 comes with separate cup sizes (up to a D cup), you may still find yourself needing pattern adjustments if you're smaller or larger in the bust.

Without further ado, here are instructions for a full bust adjustment. Read these if you're doing a small bust adjustment, since the alterations are the same, just reversed (more on that at the end of the post).

1. Start with the D cup pattern piece for your size. (I'm using the C cup in the photos below, so just ignore that). Mark in the lines shown in the picture below.

2. Slash along the lines, leaving a hinge at the top of the pattern piece. Open the slashed lines the amount you need to add to the bust. I added 1", which should gain you 1-2 cup sizes. Tape the pieces to a fresh sheet of paper.

3. Redraw the center front line.

4. Re-draw the dart legs, from their original leg points, to a new end point in your slash. Your dart will be much bigger now. When this pattern is sewn, the dart excess gets cut away, so you don't need to worry about all that excess fabric. (Another option is that you could gather the lower edge of the cup piece rather than having a dart. This is pretty common in slips.)

5. True the dart legs: close the dart as it will be sewn. Even up the bottom edge of the pattern piece if needed. Roll over the lower edge of the dart with a spiky tracing wheel.

Open up the dart and draw over the perforated marks left by the tracing wheel. This is your new cutting line.

6. That's it! Test out your new cup piece in a cheap 2-way knit fabric. To get the correct fit, it's very important that your fabric for the test and the final garment stretch in the lengthwise and crosswise directions.

For small bust adjustments: you can use these same steps, but instead of spreading the pattern piece apart, overlap the pieces, making it smaller. Your piece will get narrower and shorter, and your darts will be smaller.

Let me know if you have any questions. Next, we'll be cutting and marking our fabric!

Previous sew-along posts:

Slip Sew-Along #1: Inside the Kit, Plus Other Supplies
Slip Sew-Along #2: Pre-treating Your Fabric
Slip Sew-Along #3: Picking a Size and Making Adjustments

Monday, April 14, 2014

Slip Sew-Along #3: Picking a Size and Making Adjustments

Hey sew-alongers! Let's get started on our slips, shall we?

First, choose a size for the slip. If you're between sizes, it's a pretty safe bet to size down. We're using a two-way stretch fabric which is very forgiving. Knit undergarments are best fitted, rather than having extra ease.

If you're one size on the top and another on the bottom, it's easy to make a custom-fit pattern. Let's say you're a 14 above the waist and a 16 in the hips. All you need to do is draw a new pattern line that tapers from the 14 at the waist to a 16 at the hip. Here's what that looks like:

When cutting, make sure to follow your new line!

Note that this pattern includes A/B, C, and D cup sizes, so choose your bra pattern piece accordingly.

As for the panties, they run true to size. However, if you have a large bottom/hips, I would definitely recommend going with your hip measurement. I designed these panties to have full butt coverage (my pet peeve is undies that cut across the butt cheek--ugh!). To get those benefits, you need to use your measurement from the largest part of your butt.

To give you a sense of sizing, my measurements put me solidly at a 16. However, I cut a 14 in the slip to get a close fit, since I intend to wear this under dresses and skirts. In the panties, I cut a 16 since I have a big butt. (It's true.)

In my next post, I'll show you how to do a full bust adjustment if you're larger than a D cup. See you soon!

Previous sew-along posts:

Slip Sew-Along #1: Inside the Kit, Plus Other Supplies
Slip Sew-Along #2: Pre-treating Your Fabric

Monday, April 7, 2014

My Inaugural Beacon Sewing Retreat!

What a weekend! After months of planning, my first sewing retreat was a complete success. 11 ladies came together in my town of Beacon, New York for a few days of sewing fun.

It took place at a boutique hotel called the Roundhouse, in a private event room overlooking a waterfall. Scenic!

My trusty friend and righthand woman Fleur helped me out.

I brought a bunch of garments to show and tell with.
Necchi generously provided machines. We used the Ex60, which I highly recommend. Now I really want a machine with a thread trimmer!
Friday night we started things off with a cocktail party. I love an excuse to dress up. Here I am in my Butterick pattern, B5882.

 The ladies started arriving! Everyone hit it off from the get-go.
After a lovely dinner, Bunny from S&S Vac, Appliance, and Sewing in Poughkeepsie showed us how to use the machines.

The next day we started bright and early! I wore my "Home Sewing Is Easy" dress since it seemed like the perfect occasion. I'm posing here with the sample version of B5882, which I brought for the ladies to inspect.

 We started off the day by diving into FBAs. Here I am with Marie, Alison, and Joanna.

Here's Jenny of Cashmerette, in a muslin version of B5814, looking VERY Joan Holloway!

I did lots of demos: how to sew underarm gussets, how to use boning, lapped zippers, bound buttonholes, and more.

We did muslin fittings and adjusted patterns.

A few people were working on the bombshell dress! Here's my version on display.

 And here's Lauren, after we fit her version! 

After fitting, she cut out a bustier version in an eyeglass print. Yes!


 We sewed into the wee hours.

Kim made my pant pattern B5895 in adorable polka dots.

Emily, Kristen, Jacky, and Kim hard at work!
We did some more sewing Sunday morning and finished with a farewell luncheon. Here I am showing the ladies a sneak peek of my next Butterick pattern!
We finished by taking an official retreat portrait.

Left to right: Marie, Blanca, Jenny, Jacky, Fleur, Lauren, Alison, Joanna, Kim, Kristen, Annelieke, and Emily!
I want to thank everyone who came and made the weekend so wonderful. And let's not forget Mr. Gertie, my staff event planner!

We're already thinking of having another retreat in the fall. If you'd like to join the mailing list, just fill out this form.

Subscribe to the sewing retreat mailing list

* indicates required

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Slip Sew-Along #2: Pre-treating Your Fabric

Knit fabrics need to be pre-treated, just like wovens do. Before we start sewing our slips, we'll want to prewash our fabric. This will pre-shrink the fabric, and make it nice and fresh for your first wearing.

The fabric included in the slip kits is called Stretch Micro Jersey, and it's 95% poly, 5% spandex. My preferred way to wash this fabric is to put it on the delicate wash cycle. To dry, either lay flat or tumble dry low. These guidelines should work for other knit fabrics, but use your best judgement and think about how you're going to wash the finished garment. Some people prefer to hand wash lingerie and hang it to dry. If that's your preference, do the same with the fabric to pre-treat it.

One thing I've noticed about the Micro Stretch Jersey is that it can wrinkle while on the bolt, forming a moire-like pattern on the fabric. Washing should remove these wrinkles, but if you still see some, you can remove them by steam ironing the fabric on the poly setting.

Don't worry about pre-washing your trims and elastics. They won't shrink, and they'll probably just get all tangled up in the wash!

Next week we'll start cutting and sewing!

Previous sew-along posts:

Slip Sew-Along #1: Inside the Kit, Plus Other Supplies

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Slip Sew-Along #1: Inside the Kit, Plus Other Supplies

April is upon us! We'll be kicking off the slip sew-along slowly, going over supplies/tools today and prepping your fabric later this week. If you're just tuning in, the sew-along is for my pattern Butterick 6031, a slip in stretch jersey fabric. We'll be sewing the coordinating panties at the end as a bonus.

Here's what you'll find inside your kit (if you ordered one). This will also help you collect supplies if you're sourcing your own.

Left to right: 1) Fabric, 2) wide lace, 3) narrow lace, 4) picot edge elastic, 5) 1/8" elastic, 6) rings and sliders, 7) bows
1. Fabric. A length of lightweight micro stretch jersey for the body of the slip.
2. Wide lace for the upper cups, midriff, and slip hem. Your wide lace should be in the 1.25" to 1.5" range. You can use either width and it will not effect the construction or fit of the slip.
3. 1/2" Narrow lace for the straps.
4. Picot edge elastic. This finishes the upper back edge of the slip.
5. 1/8" elastic. This stabilizes the top of the bra cups.
6. 2 rings and 2 sliders to make the straps adjustable.
7. 2 bows for decoration.

Besides these supplies, you'll also need:

1. Thread. All purpose poly thread is ideal. It's a good idea to have thread in your fabric color and in your lace color.
2. Stretch or jersey sewing machine needles. (They may also be called ballpoint needles.) These prevent skipped stitches when sewing on knits. Size 10-12 should work fine.
3. Hand sewing needle to sew on bows.
4. Shears or rotary cutter and mat. A rotary cutter works really well on knit fabric, but it is not a necessity.
5. Small, sharp scissors for trimming away lace.
6. Sewing machine with a zigzag stitch.

That's it! Look for a post later this week on prepping your fabric.

P.S. If you didn't get a kit and still want one, don't worry! I'm taking pre-orders for kits that will ship in roughly two weeks. This means that you won't get to sew along with the beginning of the sew-along. However, posts stay up here on the blog forever and ever and you can do the sew-along at your own leisure. I will also start a Flickr group so there's a place for you sew-alongers to congregate.

Friday, March 21, 2014

New Slip-Making Kits in Stock, with Plus/Tall Options!

My Etsy shop is open again! I have new kits for our slip sew-along, which begins in April. I now have red + black kits, fuchsia + black kits, and a few yellow + white kits.

These kits will make a slip and pair of panties up to a Butterick size 22 (which corresponds to bust/waist/hip measurements 44"--37"--46").

You can also buy your pattern in my shop, as it is not included in the kit.

New Plus Size/Tall Kits!

If you need to grade up the pattern or add length, I'm also offering plus/tall kits in red and fuchsia. These include an extra 1/2 yard of fabric and extra lace.

More Kits Coming Up . . . 

I will probably offer more kits in lavender and black again, but I'm not sure when exactly that will happen. If you want to start sewing along on 4/1, I would buy one of the available colors rather than waiting. Update: I have 5 black kits and 7 lavender kits left! Buy now if you're interested!

Thank you all for the amazing response to the kits and the sew-along! Okay, back to cutting and packing . . .

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Retro Makeup Giveaway Winner, Sewing Bee Casting, Gender and Sewing, Oh My!

And Winner Is . . . 

We had almost 400 entries to win Lauren Rennells's Retro Makeup! The prize goes to Jenni, who commented on March 14th at 3:56 am. (I hope you're in a really far away time zone, Jenni. Otherwise, you need to get more beauty sleep!) HRST Books will contact you to send the book. Thanks so much for the giveaway, Lauren and HRST!


Secondly, are you a man? Are you a man who sews as a hobby? Or do you know someone of that persuasion? The Sewing Bee is casting right now and they're specifically looking for more menfolk.

The catch is that you must be an amateur--i.e. not make the bulk of your income from sewing.

Sewing and Gender Diversity

I think there's an interesting blog post to be written here. I mean, the reason they're having trouble finding men is that there aren't that many men who sew as a hobby! And if they do, there's a good chance they might not want the whole world to know. Sewing is a traditionally female activity, and therefore hasn't been given a lot of respect in the past. While I'd rather see women making up the majority of the contestants (and I'm sure they will), I also want some diversity represented.

(Also, it's fun to watch the women kick the men's butts on The Great British Sewing Bee. I just started season 2, and the men are so out of their league!)

What do you think? Are you keen to have men well-represented on The Sewing Bee--more so than they make up the sewing population in general? Or do you think the show's contestants should represent the sewing population as it is?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Retro Makeup: Book Review and Giveaway!

Oh happy day! I have a copy of the book Retro Makeup: Techniques for Applying the Vintage Look by Lauren Rennells to give away. You may know Lauren's name from the book Vintage Hairstyling, which I wrote about here.

I was sent a review copy of the book and spent two happy bubble baths reading it from cover to cover. It's a very comprehensive look at makeup styles from the 20s to the 60s, with lots of practical info on how to achieve the looks. The photography and step-by-steps are very user-friendly.

Of course, my favorite chapters are on the 40s and 50s. I especially enjoyed the WWII history from a cosmetics point of view. Did you know that companies marketed lipsticks and cosmetics kits for service women? There was actually a rule that one's lipstick had to match the uniform, so colors like Auxiliary Red and Montezuma Red were developed to match the red accents on military uniforms.

I've been trying out the tips this past week: shaping my eyebrows into a "winged" shape, darkening my beauty marks with eye pencil, and applying eyeliner. (My favorite tip: when doing winged eyeliner, make a tiny dot to the side of each eye where you want the wing to end. Check that your dots are even and level. Then apply the eyeliner, ending your line exactly at your dots. Works every time!)

Here's some of my handiwork:
To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post. Make sure that there's a way for me to get in touch with you, whether you leave your email or your username links to your website/blog. Open to all countries. I'll draw a winner at the end of the day Monday, March 17th.

Good luck! And thanks to HRST for providing a review copy and a giveaway copy.
© Gertie's Blog For Better Sewing. Powered by Cake