Thursday, April 24, 2014

Slip Sew-Along #6: Sewing the Bra Top

Ready? Ok! Start by putting a stretch needle in your sewing machine.

Next we're going to sew our darts on the bra pieces. Bring the slits you made for the dart legs together, and place a pin at the dart point.

Stitch from the notches to the point. Backstitch at the beginning, but not at the end of your stitching. Tie your thread ends together to secure.

Finger-press the dart to the center front (the side with one notch, not two). From the right side, edgestitch very close to the dart seam. Do not back stitch. Pull the threads to the wrong side and tie off (see this post if you don't know how!).

On the wrong side, trim away the dart excess next to your edgestitching.

Get out your wide stretch lace. Pin it so that one scalloped edge is flush with the neckline edge of the bra piece.

When you get to the peak of the neckline, fold the lace to form a corner. Continue to the opposite edge of the piece. 

Set your machine to a zigzag stitch. Mine is 2.5 long and 2.5 wide. Stitch along the lower edge of the lace. Do not stretch the lace or the fabric.

If your lace has small scallops (like mine), you can just stitch straight along the edge. If your lace is very scalloped, like in the picture below, you'll need to curve your stitching to follow the curve of the scallops. Take your time with this.

When you get to the fold of lace, pivot.

Here's what it will look like. My stitching is a contrast color so you can see it. Use a color to match your lace, and it will blend in completely.

Using small, sharp scissors, trim away the excess fabric from behind the lace.

Repeat on the other bra piece.

Now we're going to stabilize the neckline with 1/8" elastic. Use pattern piece number 4 as a guide to cut two pieces of elastic.

Pin the elastic to the wrong side of the neckline lace, 1/4" away from the edge of the elastic. Your elastic will be slightly shorter than your neckline.

Set your machine to a zigzag that is 1.5 wide and 3mm long. Stitch the elastic in place, stretching the elastic slightly to fit. Go slowly--that elastic is narrow! Pivot at the peak of the lace, making sure that the fold in the corner stays folded.

Repeat on the other side.

Now we're ready to stitch the center front seam. Pin the two bra pieces together, right sides together.

Set your stitch width to 1mm and your length to 3mm. This is a very narrow zigzag, sometimes called a wobble stitch. Stitch the two pieces together with a 5/8" seam allowance. Then stitch again just to the right of your first line of stitching.

Trim away excess seam allowance.

Finger press the seam to one side.

Your bra piece is finished!

We're going to put a bow at the bottom of the lace, so don't worry if it doesn't match up perfectly!

We'll sew the lower slip in the next post.

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
Slip Sew-Along #4: Bust Adjustments
Slip Sew-Along #5: Cutting and Marking

Monday, April 21, 2014

Slip Sew-Along #5: Cutting and Marking

Ready to cut your fabric? Here we go!

You need to cut out 6 of the tissue pattern pieces. The pieces are:

1, 2, OR 3: Bra front (this is either piece 1, 2, or 3, depending on your cup size)
5: Slip front
7: Slip back
8: Panties Front
9: Panties Back
10: Crotch

Cut around the pattern pieces, leaving excess around each piece. I don't worry about cutting on the actual lines until I cut the fabric.

Most of the pattern pieces are cut on the fold, so we're going to fold the selvages into the center of the fabric to form a cutting layout with two folds.

Start by folding the fabric in half lengthwise, selvages together. You want the right sides of the fabric to be together--it can be a little difficult to discern the right side of jersey. Look closely at the fibers, and one side will be smoother than the other. This is the right side.

Make sure there are no ripples in the fabric. If there are, re-align the selvages until the ripples or twists are eliminated.

Lay the fabric out on a flat surface and place pins along the fold. These pins will serve as a guide in the next step.

Take each selvage and fold it in to meet the pins.

Your selvages are now meeting in the middle, and you have a fold on either side of the fabric.

Smooth out any wrinkles.

Pin your pattern pieces to the fabric, like so:

All pieces are placed on a fold, EXCEPT for the bra piece. This should be placed parallel to the fold, like so:

Cut the pieces out, so that you're just cutting away the lines for your size. A rotary cutter is a great choice for slinky knits, since you don't have to lift or move the fabric to cut it.

Watch out for kitty paws!

You'll notice that there's a cutting line for the slit on the slip front. Ignore this for now.

Now that all your pieces are cut out, it's time to mark them. Start with the notches. Snip into the point of each notch, leaving a tiny slit. There's no need to cut out the whole notch.

Next, mark the darts on the bra piece. My favorite way to do this is to snip into each dart leg (like you did with the notches) and stick a pin through the end point of the dart.

Mark the end point of the dart on both wrong sides of the piece, using the location of your pin as a guide. Here you can see where my pin is exiting the fabric on the wrong side. I just made a tiny pen mark there.

Finally, use a ruler and a marking pen to connect the slits from your dart legs with the dart endpoint. Voila!

Use a pin to mark the strap placement mark on the bra piece and the slip back.

There's also a square to mark in the upper right corner of the upper back piece.

Now for the slit. The slit is only on the left side of the slip, so you only need to mark that side.

You'll want to mark your upper layer, which will be your left side as you wear the slip (assuming you folded your fabric correctly, with the right sides together. I'm sure you did, though.) Snip into the legs of the slit, as you did for your dart. Place a pin at the endpoint of the slit wedge, and at the large circle mark above it.

Remove the tissue and mark in the large circle and the slit wedge.

Carefully cut out the fabric in the wedge.

Okay, that's it for cutting and marking. Next we'll start sewing!

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
Slip Sew-Along #4: Bust Adjustments

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.

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