May 27, 2015

Grabbing life by the Bells

I am back at St. Peter's Abbey for the 13th annual Saskatchewan Sttiches Conference, a wonderful retreat for those whose live to knit, sew and quilt. This is my room again this year...I see they redecorated my room with new textiles!
Our daily routine here is scheduled by the bells in the tower. Bells for the call to early morning masses, bells for lunch and bells in the evening...74 bells in the evening, I might add! After a few days, I scarcely hear the bells anymore, as they have become a part of our daily life.

The jewel in the crown of the colony is St. Peter's Cathedral. Yes, a cathedral right here in the middle of Muenster (population 212) which doubles in size when the Sttitches Confernece is on!!!
Inside are the most incredible paintings on the dome of the altar.

There is St. Benedict standing at the right hand of St. Peter (upon whom the Catholic Church was built)
Benedict founded the order of Benedictine monks, which owns the monastery and all the lands around here.
In this above photo you can see part of Father Demetrius, of the Order of St. Benedict, who is our main contact at the monastery and our tour guide for the cathedral and the Abbey. Father D as we fondly call him, has been our guide for the 13 years of the Stitches Conference!

I teach bra-making here, not in the cathedral of course, but in St. Peter's College which is on the monastic grounds! This year we have had a 3 day bra retreat as well as the regular 8 days of other bra classes. That means the students can work on whatever they want but I am here to help them with it. It's a great opportunity for students to get some of those more challenging bra designs sewn up and fitted.

One student decided to cover foam cups with a stretch silk fabric. I never recommend woven fabrics - (just because it says "stretch" doesn't mean it is a knit) but she was determined! Since woven fabrics won't stretch enough to cover the cup seamlessly, we had to add small gathers to the bottom half.

She did 2 nice neat roll over edges and that was no mean feat using woven fabric! But the plan also incLudes lace over the bottom half to cover the gathered area...something like this. 
This is another bra the same student whipped up! This gal had some amazing bras!

Abby life, Bra-making and Cathdrals - the ABCs of life here at the Stitches Conference. So once again, I am grabbing life by the bells, and a more heavenly place, I can't imagine!

May 21, 2015

Bra Summit Give-away!

As I prepare to go once again to beautiful Stockholm to the 3rd Annual European Bra Summit, I have some news about a Give-away!

If you book your classes before June 6, your name will automatically be entered in the Early Bird Give-away. Prizes are gift certificates worth 500 SEK each!

Here's what's going on in the Bra Summit:

2 days: June 27 & 28 from 9.30 - 4.30

Want to learn to make your own bra?

This is one of the best classes you will ever take. We say "if you can set in a sleeve, you can sew a bra". Our Classic Bra pattern is first fitted to your unique body - then we teach all the professional bra-making techniques. Pattern and kit are included in the class fee.

2.5 days: June 29 and 30 from 9.30 - 4.30 July 1 from 9.30-12.30 

Learn to make swimwear and have the pattern professionally fitted to your body. In this class you learn how to make a free floating bra inside with swim cup foam (you must bring your own fitted bra pattern). It is not difficult to make a swimsuit once you know the few tricks that we can teach you. The pattern and class notes are included in the price of the class. You will choose one suit from the following/a one-piece tank suite/a one-piece princess line suite or a princess line tankini. Bring your own swimsuit fabric and lining to this class. One pattern included.

1.5 days: July 1 from 1.30 - 4.30 and July 2 from 9.30-4.30

Everyone loves a cut-and-sew foam bra . They cushion the bustline and provide a nipple-free look under clothes. Using cut-and-sew foam allows you to use virtually any fabric, including stretchy fabrics you can’t use for a regular bra cup.  We have tricks that allow the home sewer to cover her own cups and sew beautiful bras that rival ready-to-wear. You will also learn to cover a cup with lace, and use lining if you want. This year you can choose from over a dozen different foam colours! This is 1,5 day are jam packed with foam, fun and friends! You must already know how to sew a bra - no beginner bra-makers!

STYLE CHANGES1 day: July 3 2015 from 9.30 - 4.30 

In this class, you will learn how to change your basic pattern into every style you want. Vertical seams, diagonal seams, multiple piece cups – what style lines do YOU want in your bra? After completion of the class, you should be able to look at a ready-to-wear bra and know exactly how to duplicate the style. In the morning you will learn to change the style, then in the afternoon, you will check the fit of the cup you designed in the morning. You must bring your bra pattern to the class.
1.5 days: July 4 from 9.30 - 4.30 and July 5 from 9.30 -12.30

Shelley is a designer original bra with built-in power bars and a split lower cup. You won’t believe what effect these small details have on support! We always say “if you like your Classic Bra – you will love Shelley!” We will draft the pattern in the morning and sew it up during the rest of the class. You must bring your bra pattern to class.
0.5 day: July 5 from 1.30 - 4.30

The fabric you choose for a bra, panties or body shapers can make or break the garment. Why waste money and time on a garment that won’t support or won’t flatter your figure? Learn what fabrics will make a great bra, or panties, and how to use your fingers to tell you if a fabric will be good to use. You will be given lots of fabric samples that you can take home and use as reference. You will also learn to modify your pattern to use with different fabrics.

For more information, please contact the organizer:
Bodil Friman
by phone +46727153061 or by email at

May 09, 2015

Swim Week and Master Swim - Digital Fashion Show

We just finished up Swim Week and Master Swim here in Hamilton and what a great bunch of swimsuit makers we had this time!

In Swim Week, they started with the basics, a tank or princess seamed suit with a set of bra cups inside attached to the lining. This  one is a fun print with binding sewn to the upper edges.

Next we had some polka dots!

And yes, they learned to make adjustments for a full bust!

Some added ruching on the centre panels of the princess line suit

And what a fun print this one was!

Then some of the students made swim dresses!

And this one with binding made on an industrial cover stitch machine. There is also a metal V-separator in the front neckline of this suit. There are a few tricks to its insertion, but what a dramatic touch!

Now the fun really began when the students made their retro suits...bombshell style!

Here's the pattern piece for that ruched panel! Isn't it odd looking? But it worked!

And this one was too shy to pose for the camera! There still needs to be elastic on the top edge of the underarm here.

One student did some advanced colour blocking. I love this combination of fabric and piping!

Here's the back of the same suit!

A couple of the students were inspired to work on their own projects in their "spare time". Here is the corset dress finished up from Corsetiere's

And here is a dress made from a really drapey knit from the fabric store across the street. The ruched panel is a really nice touch - and since the industrial cover stitch and binder attachment was all set up at the school - why not use it for this dress too? Doesn't she look happy?

By the way, the lightweight stretchy knit was lined with swimwear lining instead of the usual woven dress lining. This makes perfect sense since the swim lining can move with the knit. No slip is required for this summer dress!

That's all for this past couple of classes. I hope you are inspired to make some swimwear!