Saturday, January 24

I've been nominated!

Woohoo! This blog has been nominated for the best Sewing Blog by an Instructor by Craftsy Blogger Awards. 

Together we made Sewing Bras: Construction & Fit the TOP-SELLING Craftsy class of all time in just FOUR months. That's very exciting for me, especially since just last year someone told me that "nobody sews anymore"  and "sewing is a lost art".  My response was - "You're kidding me... right? Sewing is alive and well, and we are all sewing bras!"

Now is your chance to vote for this blog...and your favourite Fairy Bra Mother! The voting continues until January 28, 2015 at midnight, so be sure to cast your votes before then. 

Craftsy Blogger Awards - Nominate Me badge

Tuesday, January 20

Fabric Magic - Trick 1

Have I got a neat trick to share with you!

PROBLEM: Duoplex, our go-to main bra-making fabric is plain-Jane  fabric, even though the colours are gorgeous when made up. I wanted pattern, colour and prints! Sorry, duoplex...but you weren't getting my mojo going anymore!

SOLUTION: Print my own fabric! 
This was so easy - your kids could do this and they would love it! Here's how I did it. 

Use any permanent fabric marker. I chose Setasilk from G&S Dyes in Toronto. Don't get hung up on the brand. I went to Wal-mart and Michael's and they both had LOADS of permanent fabric markers in TONS of colours.  Pastels, brights, earth tones - you name it! Who knew? 
Then get a rubber stamp - I got a collection of small stamps at Michael's. I picked this wee bow 
Wet the stamp with the marker......
And stamp the right side of the duoplex (quick - before the marker dries). How easy is that?
Of course, once I stamped the cloth, the background looked kind of sparse. Even though they say "less is more", I decided that MORE is more! I added small dots to the background by using the point of the marker in between the bows.
Once the fabric was completely printed (it took maybe 20 minutes total since the fabric quantity for a bra is not very big!) and dried (about 1 minute), I pressed it on the right side
And again on the wrong side, just for good measure. Now that the print is heat set, it is permanent and can be washed without worry!
And here is the bra Erin made with the finished fabric. isn't it lovely? I was super pleased with the way this print turned out - now I want more, more, more! Hmmm....can you see more rubber stamps in my future? lol
 Already I have a number of ideas of how to make fabric more fun! I plan to share them all with you, so stay tuned! 

If you try any of the techniques, I would love to see what you do!

Happy Bra-making!

Monday, January 19

The Trouble with Elastics

I am sure there are few things worse than sewing up a pattern you love, in a size you know fits you - only to have it NOT FIT at the end! Grrr...very frustrating! 

But when that sewing project is your very own perfectly fitting bra pattern - it's even worse than frustrating! It's like you have been betrayed by your underwear! <wails and weeping here>

What happened? Did you ever think it is the elastic to blame? It might be. Let me explain...

We all know that elastic varies in width among manufacturers, but did you know that it also varies greatly in strength too? Some elastics have a lot of stretch which means if I pull on 10" (25 cm) I can pull it out double its original length to 20" (50 cm). That means it stretches 100% over its original length (20" over 10" x 100% = 200%). Elastic that stretches to 15" over its original 10 has 150% stretch (15/10 x 100%). 

Generally speaking you want elastic with between 140-180% stretch for the bottom band of a bra. There's a huge difference between 140 and 180% stretch. What happens if your original pattern was drafted and sewn using an elastic much stretchier than the one you are using now? In other words your first bra was sewn using elastic that was 180% stretch and the second bra was only 140% stretch. Hmmm - that means the bra band on the second bra will feel tighter than the first. 40% tighter in fact! Guaranteed. Sometimes too tight to wear, even.

At Bra-makers Supply, we have two types of bottom band elastics, which we call the OLD and the NEW elastic (because I am SO creative with The OLD elastics EB-37, EB-47 and EB-67 have a stretch that varies between 170-180% which is definitely on the weaker side of bra band elastics. That's the elastic I used to create all the Pin-up Girls patterns with.  You can see that this 10" stretches to 17"

The NEW elastics EB-372, EB-472 and EB-672 are much firmer as we wanted elastics that would stand the test of time during the washing and wearing process. This NEW elastic is much firmer, with about 140-150% stretch, which means it won't ride up and will last for years! It also means that if you use 3/4" elastic now, you will get the same holding power with 1/2" elastic! 

You can see that 10" here stretches only to 15"

Most bra pattern designers use a "standard" elastic stretch percentage of 170%. That means you should always check your elastic against the norm. If it is less than 170% chances are good that you need to increase the length of the back band so it will have the same comfort level on your body.

Here's the important part:
You need to increase the length of the band by the difference in the percentage of the two elastics. In this case, one elastic is 170% and the other is 150%. That is 20% difference. You need to increase your back band pattern piece by 20% in length. Here is how to do that.

Measure the back band pattern piece. Draw a vertical line in the centre of the back band as shown above. Calculate 20% of the length (or whatever the difference is between the two elastics in question). Spread the two pieces apart by that distance. True up the lines at the top and bottom edge of the band.

Your new back band is ready to use. Remember to label the piece as "band for elastic with 150% stretch!"

Wasn't that easy? Now you can buy whatever elastics you like and know they will fit every time!

Bra-A-Week Challenge: Week 1

First post from the Bra-a-week Challenge by Emerald Erin! Here is the first week's Digital Fashion Show


Hi All!! 

Week 1 of Bra-A-Week!! YAY!! I've been busy sewing- and I thought I would start the challenge off with a bang and make a matching bra and pantie set!

I call this my Coral Keyhole Bra! obviously because of the colour and the keyhole in the bridge!!

And it fits like a glove! (although I am not quite brave enough to post a picture of myself in the undies too- maybe when they're not quite so sheer! lol)

I used a coral non-stretch lace fabric lined with coral 15 denier for the cups, bridge, the front section of the back band and the front panel of the panties.

Peach powernet for the back band, and the back panel of the panties

Peach 3/8" fold over elastic for all the elastics on the bra and panties

and 3/8" gold sliders and rings to adjust the back!

The pattern was a self-drafted pattern. I used Beverly's method for bra drafting, making any of the fitting and style adjustments I needed, and taking off the seam allowances so I could use the fold over elastic.

The panties were also self-drafted from Beverly's method in her Make & Fit Panties book. I adjusted them to make a front side seam, so that the back was all one piece of powernet and the front panel could be the lace. I wanted them to be a very vintage style with a high waist and full coverage :)

I really wanted to try a bunch of new techniques on this bra- so it has a lot of features! It has:
          -A partial band, meaning there is no band running under the cups

          -A keyhole bridge, that little hole in the bridge

          -A horizontal seamed cup: meaning the main seam runs horizontal across the bust from wireline to wireline (a lot of classic bra styles have a diagonal seam running from the underarm to the wireline)

          -A split bottom cup that is bowed to help the breast fall into the cup and look more round

          - Lace fabric, lined with 15 denier, a sheer cup-lining fabric, and fold over elastic all over

          - Back strap extensions- meaning that the back band is set higher where the strap starts so that your straps don't fall off your shoulders!

I'm so happy with this set! and I love how the coral and the peach blended so well together. It looks all peach from the back.

 This is the first matching bra and panties set I've ever had! I know I'll feel so special wearing it! :)

Apart from my first success in this challenge I have had SO MANY AMAZING SUBMISSIONS!
I'm so excited to share them here!!


First up is Mary Goettelmann's NYE bra!

She made it with sequin and glitter tulle lined with black nylon tricot!! WOW!

It is the Anne's Bra Elite pattern, that she had fitted to her in Anne St. Claire's course in Maryland.

She even reinforced and embellished the straps with a gorgeous black and silver chain!

Amazing job Mary!

geomar99 (at) gmail (dot) com


Next is a super cute Watson bra from Michelle Noble from Michelle's Creations

She made this bra from the super trendy Watson Bra pattern from  Cloth Habit - I've been seeing this bra all over- it's pretty cute!

She made the short-line version with a spandex knit from Merckwaerdigh (AMAZING PRINT!) and findings from Bra-maker's Supply

Love it!!!


Next we have 'Midnight', a gorgeous bra from Karin of Mrs. Weavers Finest Unmentionables

She made this gorgeous cut&sew foam bra, covered in midnight blue sequinned stretch lace.


With wide straps for a lovely 50's feel! and can I say an amazing fit! it looks fantastic and so supportive :)


Next is a bra from a delightful french man named Joël Vincent

He sent me a ton of gorgeous pictures of lingerie that be makes for his wife and I thought I would share this set this week.

 The bra is made from the Bra-maker's Supply Shelley Pattern and the panties are a very heavily modified version of the Betty Ohh Lulu pattern.

What a lucky wife! oh and he also said to mention that he was beautiful, rich and a fantastic lover - but of course, he is french! :)

petijibus (at) gmail (dot) com


Next is a bra repair from Janet Cox

Janet has been struggling with some carpal tunnel and decided that a bra- repair job on an old bra-make that has been sitting in the project pile for 2 years was a better idea than making a whole new one.

She fixed the shoulder strap elastic and now it's good as new! It's always great to have old favourites back! 


Next I have another gorgeous Watson from the very popular Madalynne

Wow another stunning Watson! This one is made out of white stretch lace, lined with micro mesh. And a really fresh addition of orange elastics.

She also upped the comfort level by cutting the back on a fold to make it a pull-over style - simple and pretty :) 


Next, and mixing it up, is this lovely body shaper from Kerri of Lady K's Wardrobe Unlocked

She made a hip-length body shaper from the Bra-maker's SupplyOva-Bra Slimmer pattern.

It's made from an ivory powernet. This one is for display, but she also made one in her size and said it fits amazingly!   


And finally I have a lovely lacy bra from David Pólrolniczak

This bra is a foam cup, with red tulle lace and powder pink cotton lining. With cute little red hearts on black for the back band!

David is a freelance lingerie designer, label: Bonnet Blue 

dpolrolniczak (at) wp (dot) pl 


Thanks again for so many GORGEOUS submissions! I can't wait to see what you all make next week! I'll definitely have to start working on these posts sooner and add the submissions as I get them!

Don't forget to check out the Group Pinterest Board and the Flickr Group!! and to join and add your bras there! 

Until next Sunday!! Happy Sewing

xo erin

Here is the link to the original post on Erin's blog. She would love any comments you may have!

The Sewing and Life Adventures of Emerald Erin: Bra-A-Week: Week 1

Sunday, January 11

Far, far away - the return to Oz

Here I am back in beautiful Denver, Colorado for a few days. I assumed the weather would be much colder than ours but I was pleasantly surprised. It is mild (for winter weather) and I may not have to wear my big clunky winter

When I checked in to the Curtis Doubletree, this was part of the check in process. Hmmm....wonder what it is?

O.M.G. There is a warm cookie inside the bag! Apparently this is a Doubletree stand! I like this place already!
The hotel is decorated in a pop culture theme. My floor is the chick flick floor, so there are movie posters decorating the hall walls. Here is my room...neat picture of legs and boots over my bed
And this try to life picture in the bathroom. This room is mine, for sure!

Here's a neat poster of shoes at the end of the hall
And this gal outside my door...does anyone know who she is? She is one of my role models...I love her attitude!
Ok, it is time to  wind down for the night and be ready for a big day tomorrow. I'll keep you posted!