Friday, July 11, 2014

Stitching interlude

Pattern: Urban Threads
Embroidery on linen with DMC cotton thread

I blame Pinterest for this new obsession. Pinterest, and a guest toilet in need of some decoration. Very glamorous, I know.

I actually really do not remember how it really started. A pin of a beautiful embroidered piece (probably intricate flowers in satin stich), leading to more boards loaded with inspiration, leading to some more googling, and also probably an email from Craftsy about summer sale and a new class on hand embroidery. I might have a slight addiction to Craftsy classes. The video medium is just great for us visual learners, and when classes go on sale I usually snap up a few. I personally think that 20 or so dollars is great value. The only times I have been disappointed was when I didn't like the teaching style of a particular instructor. The contents is always interesting, though. OK, enough about Craftsy. Anyways, I had bought the class Design It, Stitch It: Hand Embroidery with Jessica Marquez, watched it and loved every minute of it. It is a great embroidery primer and covers all the basics, and Jessica makes it sounds so easy. I also love what she creates, and she has been a great source of inspiration.

So I gathered supplies and bought this beautiful fox pattern at Urban Threads and started stitching. The tedious part is transferring the pattern to the fabric. I used a water soluble pen and a window as a lightbox, wich works well but is not very ergonomic. The stitching was just so much fun, and I barely put it down for an entire week-end. So it was completed rather quickly, even though there are many hours of labour in the finished piece. I had beforehand decided on orange for the outline (because well, foxes are orange, plus it will match the backsplash in the guest toilet) and a general colour palette, but just followed my fantasy for the stitches and colour distribution.
I am in love with the final result. It's colourful, modern and happy. Some stitches are wonky, but it makes me love the final piece just that much more. I really enjoyed the organic process of creating this piece, with the outlines of the pattern as a starting point and choosing colours and stitches as I went. I am really looking forward to build on my skills and explore different styles of embroidery.
It still needs to be framed, once I decide what colour to spray-paint the frame. Midnight blue or gold? In the meantime, I stocked up on thread, patterns and added countless embroidery inspiration boards to my Pinterest feed.
Finally, I noticed that I have 94 followers on Bloglovin! There is probably people following me in other ways, but I'm not sure how to check that out? Saying this makes me feel prehistorical. Oh well. Anyways, I thought that I would host a celebratory giveaway when I reach 100 followers! I have yet to decide what the prize will be, but I will come up with something good, promise. So check this space, I will, in the meantime, compulsively check my Bloglovin stats :) See you all soon whith som wearable stitching and a celebratory giveaway!

Monday, July 7, 2014

The bra story

Pattern: Pin-up Girls Classic bra, size 30D, slightly modified to fit my wires
Fabric: White dotted cotton from stash, white powernet from Sewing chest and white notion kit from Merckwaerdigh on Etsy.

I have been wanting to sew lingerie for a long time, ever since Amy over at Cloth Habit posted her serie about bra-making. I had great plans then to follow the sew-along and learn how to make beautiful, handmade bras. I entusiastically bought kits from Merckwaerdigh, a pattern from Pin-Up girls, and fiddled around with plush and picot elastics. The results were, sadly, less than stellar and I quickly lost interest, confused between powermesh, stretch lace, linings and trims.

Around the same time, probably due to my extensive research about bras and fit, I realised I had been wearing the wrong size bra. No wonder, since my size is barely available in specialty lingerie stores, and definetely nowhere to be found in the usual chain stores. (As a side note, I do not consider that I have a large bust. The letters in the size of my bra have very little to do with the actual size of my breasts, as the volume they refer to is in direct correlation to the lenght of the band, and my breast are certainly not bigger because my bras are! It took me forever to actually really understand this, and I will not try to explain. Rather, I suggest you go read what Butterfly Collection has do say on the subject.) I discovered high quality bras that fitted very well and were pretty and fun and colourful, like Freya and Panache, and for a while I was happy with my drawer full of store-bought lingerie. Who said I have to make everything?

So I continued, for the last year, to admire Novitas and Amys beautiful bras, thinking that "one day" I would be skilled enough to sew a bra that actually fitted. Then Tasia, from Sewaholic, started to post lingerie too, and it somehow managed to give me the kick I needed. I suddenly was super inspired, and eager to finally demystify bramaking.

I re-read all of Amy's sewalong posts and studied my RTW bras. I finally understood what parts need to stretch (the back band), and which should not (pretty much everything else), and that was the lightbulb moment for me. So I simply sat down, traced a 30D from my Pin-Up Girls Classic bra pattern, cut my fabric, a little lace to be pretty and constructed a bra. Just like that! Well, I had also ordered a few different wires in different models and sizes from the Sewing Chest and that also really helped in getting a good end reslut. The sewing itself is rather simple. Inserting all the different elastics does take a bit of practice, but is not really difficult. It does require a lot of precision, which I rather enjoyed. The hardest was attatching the hooks, I had to unpick several times because I was not catching everything properly.

The result is a bra that is very wearable, which I a super happy and proud of. I always considered it a muslin, and there are many things I will adjust for my next version, and my stitching can also be perfected. About the pattern, I will say that the instructions are extremely detailed and pertinent. The fit is quite good, straight of the envelope, on me at least, and feels quite true to size. The model is, however, quite dated. The bra gives lots of coverage, and the wide straps feels a bit old (i do think I messed up somehow with the elastics and seam allowances and that my straps are larger than they are intended to be). It also gives me a very pointy shape, which is awesome for a retro look, but maybe not what I would go for daily. I believe that all of this will be easily altered with a bit of drafting and Amy's helpful posts.

p.s. My lingerie photographing skills are also something I hope to improve... ;)