June 26, 2016

Digital fashion Show - and the winner is...

Wow! I can't believe all the great entries to our first ever Bra-making Contest!. The judges had a really hard time deciding the winners but here they are! Here are the four categories:
  • best Modified pattern
  • best original Pattern
  • best Use of trimmings
  • best Use of Cut & Sew Foam
Each of the winners will receive a gift certificate from Bra-makers Supply
First place - $200 or a 5 day class of their choice 
Second Place - $100 or three days of classes of their choice
Third Place - $50 or a one day class of their choice
Honourable Mention - $20 gift certificate from BMS

The Modified pattern category had a lot of entries - and it was for those who used an existing pattern (a lot of you used the Classic or the Shelley) and modified it. Third place goes to Michaela who started with a Classic and changed the cup pieces to a vertical, then drew in the upper cup for what I call the "Freya style" She used all lace trim and mirrored the front bridge perfectly! Well done, Michaela!
Second place in the Modified pattern category goes to Caroline! She used a Classic Bra in 32F, converted it to a partial band bra, then made the bridge into a keyhole bridge.She then changed the straps to a short strap extension. What a great fit and beautiful design! Kudos to you, Caroline!
And 1st place in the Modified category goes to....Leah! Leah created this beauty from the Classic Bra with black duoplex under the white stretch lace. She cut the lace in two pieces so she could mirror it as the CF seam, then applied the channeling on the outside of the bra cup! The black trim travelling from the CF to the strap is fold-over binding with small hearts on it. Congratulations, Leah!
Let's move on to the Trimmings category! Honourable Mention goes to Carla for her Polka Dot retro, made from the hem of a polka dot dress she shortened for a client. She did the pee-a-boo seams from a technique she learned in college.The lace was from a vintage formal dress. We're showing a close up of the bra cup so you can see the detail of the seam.
Third prize goes to Ciara, who used the the Shelley pattern in this Vintage Valentine. The fabric on the frame is actually two layers of lace and the floral fabric is cotton Swiss dot. The cups are lined with 15 denier, then the polka dot ribbon was woven through the eyelet trim. Ciara says she is not really a huge fan of polka dots, florals or red for that matter, but who would know that from this entry - it just won her a $50 gift certificate!

Second place in trimmings is awarded to Maria, and this is well deserved! At first glance, the trim looks like simple trim sewn to the upper cup, but upon closer inspection, this is trim made by pleating the fabric and inserting ribbon under the folds!
First place in trimmings goes to Carla! Carla started with a Shelley pattern but the fabric is really unusual - it's an orange Shantung Polyester and hand stamped it then added a bit of lace on the side (like a power bar). Lastly she added ribbon, metal eyelets, and gears to complete the Steampunk look! Look at the detail in this bra!
Aren't these entries incredible? There's more to come! Here in the Original category we had a number of really good entries, so many that we felt we needed to award two Honourable Mentions! This is Jillian and she copied a RTW bra. She changed the cup to a 7 piece cup for extra shaping. This is an incredible job (and she got lift!) I love her polka dot ribbon trim!
 Another Honourable Mention to Laurence who drafted her own pattern and dyed her own fabric to a sand dune colour. Her original draft had a horizontal seam so she changed that to a diagonal with a power bar. The fit is fabulous and the workmanship is exquisite.
Third prize goes to Rosalie, with her longline lace bralette with convertible straps. She drafted her own pattern and hopes to make this into a ready-to-wear garment! Very comfortable and still beautifully feminine! Well done!
Second Prize in the Original category is awarded to Carla who wowed the judges with her Blue Wave bra created from the Shelley, and manipulated the paper draft into this wave pattern! What an incredible job you did on this Carla! Amazing design concept!
First prize goes to Sonia who drafted this vertical seam bra  and mirrored the lace perfectly from side to side and on the centre front too! Look at the beautiful job sewing on the fold over binding and using the negative space formed at the strap attachment area!
The last category is Cut & Sew foam. Honourable mention is awarded to Donna for her grape charmeuse and white lace bra made using the Classic Bra and cut & sew foam.
Jeanette won Third Prize with Shelley's Rose garden which is cut & sew foam covered with a beautiful and summery floral print. Notice that Gothic Arch in the centre of the bridge!
Laurence made this lovely bra and used this beautiful goldenrod coloured lace all over. Look at the  perfect mirroring job in the front! it earned her the Second Prize!
First prize (and the final prize) goes to Andrea  with this spectacular entry Lavender Dreams. Andrea converted the Classic Bra pattern and proves that lace doesn't have to be "just a piece of lace" and can be used as part of the overall design element. She says the quilted fabric was less than forgiving than the duoplex, requiring a lot of draping to get the cup to lay perfectly on her body.
Congratulations to all the winners of our first ever Bra-making Contest. If you would like to see do this again next year, please let us know! Which bras are YOUR favourites? Comments are always welcome!





Digital Fashion Show - Bra-making Contest Entries!

We have chosen the winners of our first ever digital bra-making contest! And you've certainly outdone yourselves. We've received some amazing photos of some beautiful bras. First I would like to thank everyone who sent photos of the bras you made - I know the timeline was short but you stepped up to the plate! So here is a selection of the entries.

Pink Fuzzy Wuzzy by Diane M. This is her very first bra made from fuzzy pink fabric. Notice the different fabric on the back band. Well done, you!
Tammy used aqua lace from a too small t-shirt to add to her Classic Bra. This is only the second bra she's made. I love the lace over the black!
Erin made this "Black Mamba inblack duoplex and used fold-over binding on the neckline edges and underarm. Great job, Erin!

Autumn used the Linda pattern to challenge herself, so she added a power bar and a split lower cup, making it very Shell-esque in appearance.
Autumn also entered another category and modified her Classic Bra to include a Y-back in lace ad the butterfly front. She even trimmed the fabric from behind the lace in the front. Can you believe this is her fourth bra?

Sue's goal was to make a feminine bra with a slightly retro look that feels awesome. (Spoiler alert - goal achieved!) She fit each breast separately and used her favourite cotton fabric instead of lace for the Shelley.
Nadia modified the Shelley and shortened the fabric straps to incorporate elastic straps instead
Kay's third bra (ever) was made using the Linda pattern which she had used once before. But she added power bars, short strap extensions and found some flower rosettes to applique in place.
Here's the detail on the strap

Sue, is a custom bra-maker who used Linda to make her modified pattern and a fabric with 35% stretch with a soft lace overlay. the lace is not attached to the under fabric but was sewn together as one.


Lydia's Queen of hearts is bound to steal your heart - she used lined Swiss heart tulle for the lower cup and the heart lace from Bra-makers, using techniques learned in the Craftsy class, Sewing Bras: Foam, lace & Beyond.
 Sharon was very clever with her bits of leftover lace. She fussy-cut those bits to use on the lower cup of this fuchsia Shelley bra!
Wendy is a newbie who turned the Classic into a Shelley and then modified it to a partial band. added g-hooks so the straps could change from time to time.  She says she needs to narrow the bridge a little but she will wait to do that when the leaves fall off!
Carla used this gorgeous lace to make this Shelley and small modifications for fit after her class with bra teacher Iris Moore in BC. She says "this is my prettiest and best fit bra so far!" (and check out that fabric stash behind the mannequin!)
Here's a bra cloned from ready-to-wear. From Eileen, who used hand cut seam tape over the seams. So pretty! What a great fit!
Donna's entry Peppy Le Phew(!) was made with bits of black and white duoplex and the Shelley pattern. The bra got its name from the fact that it was finally finished (Phew!)

Lydia's back in the game with another superb bra she calls the Bold and the Beautiful. It's a Linda partial band, lace lined with 15 denier on the upper cup and a lovely floral stretch net for the lower cup.
Sometimes we think of white as boring, but Liz's bra for her daughter is nothing but! She modified the Shelley to round out the cups and raise the apex to make the breasts sit really high. Liz says "my daughter hasn't been this happy with a bra...EVER!" hard to believe this is only Liz's 3rd bra!
I cannot believe the level of skill with these newbie bra-makers. Here's Kay's bra and she used Linda and made it into a front closing bra with a Y-back, techniques she learned in the Craftsy class Sewing Bras: Designer Techniques. Look at the well sewn fold-over binding!
Eleanor's sewing was spot on in her All Fire, No Ice bra, made from the Classic bra but changed to a partial band. She dyed all the fabrics herself with Jacquard Acid Dyes in Bright orange and Fire Red.
There were a lot of turquoise entries, this one is Jocelyn's Classic changed to a Shelley but with a C-shaped power bar instead of the S-shaped that I normally use.
Michelle used a modified Shelley and then used contrast fabric in the power bar and on the bridge. She did some serious fitting as she is a "pronounced Omega shape" and used a 32G cup in a 34E cradle and a 34 band.
Terry made a cut & sew foam bra using the Classic Bra and jazzed it up with a lace band and contrast bows. The roll-over edge is a smooth clean finish along the neckline. I love the lace band!
Jeanette drafted her own bra from her body measurements and did a butterfly lace treatment on the front. No matter how many times I see the butterfly, I never get tired of it!
Lydia created "Cielito Lindo" from the Linda bra using stretch lace lined with 15 denier and on the lower cup, stretch tulle lined with 15 denier. Lydia was certainly busy in her sewing room - she made three bras for this contest!
Rachel used burgundy and brown duoplex in a very creative way to mix the colours to create a shape on the cup.She started with the Classic  and added a power bar (with two colours) and increased the cup volume. What a great way to use colour!
Someone put their embroidery machine to good use! Jutta calls her creation Americana Watching You, and she embroidered eagle eyes to her Shelley bra then embellished it with beads and crystals!
There's more, including all the winners but there was no way I could put all the photos in one post, so stay tuned for the next post right after this one with all the winning entries!

June 22, 2016

Hooray for Pink!

Thursday June 23, in National Pink Day. (I don't make this up, ladies - it's a real National Day!)
Pink  is a pale red color which got its name from a flower of same name and was first used as a color name in the late 17th century. According to surveys in both the United States and Europe with results indicating that the color pink combined with white or pale blue is most commonly associated with femininity, sensitivity, tenderness, childhood and the romantic.  Pink, when combined with violet or black is associated with eroticism and seduction.

Dating back to the 14th century, “to pink” (the verb) means “to decorate with a perforated or punched pattern.” (as in pinking shears!)


Pink ribbons or decorations were worn by young boys in 19th century England.  The men in England wore red uniforms and since boys were considered small men, boys wore pink. Yes, that's right, most little boys wore pink!

Pink became much bolder, brighter and more assertive in the 20th century and 1931, the color “Shocking Pink” was introduced. Hot pink is a colour I associate with the late 1960s and 70s.

Here's how PINK has entered our langauge:

In the pink – To be in top form, in good health, in good condition.
Tickled pink – means extremely pleased.
To see pink elephants – To hallucinate from alcoholism.
Pink slip – To be given a pink slip means to be fired or dismissed from a job.
Pink-collar worker – Persons working in jobs conventionally regarded as  “women’s work.”
Pink Money –   an economic term which refers to the spending power of the LGBT community.

How about wearing your favourite PINK bra, not matter what the shade June 23? I know I will be!


Far, far, away...14 years and counting!

For the last 14 years, I've been teaching at the Saskatchewan Stitches Conference in Muenster. This unusual conference is Saskatchewan's Best Kept Secret. But that's OK. The 350 women who do know are happy to have it all to themselves.

The Conference is held at a real working monastery...yes, with real monks and bells and the whole monastic experience. But it is more than that. St. Peters is also a college and as part of the University of Saskatoon, they offer courses that might not otherwise be available to rural students. But when the students leave for the summer, the stitchers come in! Here's our beginner bra class, it's always the first two days.
There are quilters here too, and knitters and pattern drafters, and tailors and hookers, too (that's RUG hookers!) here are a couple of quilts on display
This one by Dianne Jansen is a work of art!
But I am here for the bra classes (naturally!) and we made some spectacular bras. This one didn't get quite finished before the end of the beginner bra class but hopefully you can appreciate the lace on this butterfly bra.


Here's a Shelley combining turquoise and fuchsia
And one with more traditional bra colouring in peach
We always have a black one!
beige is always in fashion, especially when teamed with this gorgeous lace!
Here's a navy Shelley with platinum and navy lace
Another turquoise...but you can't say it is plain...that colour is gorgeous!
Ivory is as practical as beige, and always popular!
We had to have an orange one too!
And ooh la la, a fuchsia Shelley with lace from Freya!
Once the Shelley class was over, we got into working with cut & sew foam
But the student had a bit of a mishap. Can you tell what happened here?
Here's a hint...

That's right, the lower cup  in the cup on the right hand side was sewn on backwards. It is easy to do when both sides of the foam look exactly the same. We got it sorted out and the cup was ready to cover

And here is the almost finished bra made from those cups
We also had a 3 day Boob Camp, where students came to do whatever their little hearts desired. On student wanted to clone her favourite ready-to-wear bra. No problem. This was the shape of the cup we cloned and the lace worked out beautifully.
To keep the strain off the lace, we created a very unusual internal power bar
which we pinned inside the bra after the cup was sewn
Here's the bra with the short strap tabs sewn on
One of the challenges was to use this narrow lace but to use it in a larger cup bra. Guess what we did with it?
We were able to use it in a vertical seam bra with a relatively narrow upper cup area. By re-styling the bra so that the apex sits behind a vertical seam, we can make the upper cup as narrow as we need to fit the lace. Even though we could not mirror the lace, the student did an excellent job of balancing it!
This students wanted to cut out fabric so that the design matched all the way around her corset (yes, you can make corsets in Boob Camp too, as well as swimwear, bodyshapers...whatever you want me to teach you during those days, I will!)
On the last night, the teachers and staff got into the wine...or at least, they tried. Looks like that wine bottle is giving them some trouble!
So that was my part of the SSC this year. Next year, is the 15th anniversary so there is fabric challenge coming up. the last fabric challenge was in 2012, the 10th anniversary. This is what i made with the challenge fabric. I call it "Hidden Secrets at the Abbey" Can you find 6 panties, 12 bras and 6 corsets hidden in the stained glass window? Wonder what I will do for next year?