The Marlborough Bra - Round Two


In 2014 I attempted to make my first underwire bra - the Marlborough bra.

Fast forward over a year later and I've attempted to make my second one.  I think I needed all that time to build up my patience and courage to attempt a project that can call for such finicky fitting alterations.  I'm not sure that it was such a great idea to wait that long though, because this time around pretty much felt like I was sewing it for the very first time again.

I can barely remember what I did yesterday.  Don't ask me to remember what I did over a year ago.

Fortunately, my blog post had some notes about what I wanted to do differently this time around.  I sewed a 32C once again, but I made a couple of modifications.  First I widened the bridge by about 1/8th of an inch and lengthened the band by about a 1/4 of an inch on each side because it was too tight last time.  It turns out that I didn't lengthen the band enough because it's still a bit tighter than I would like.  I also followed Kathy's tutorial on changing the shaping of the cups for a shallow bust.  This resulted in a perfect fitting cup...on my left breast.  It turns out that my right breast is smaller so I'm still getting a bit of puckering on that side.  Ah, the things that sewing teaches you about your body.

I've been wearing this bra around for the past week and have figured out some additional changes that will need to be made in future bras.

1) The underwire ends a little too low on my armpit side so I think I'll raise that side of the bra a bit to allow for a slightly taller underwire (as it was, I had to snip off part of my underwire to make it fit this pattern).  Just a side note about snipping off parts of your underwire.  I just cut it using wire cutters and then dipped the edges in Plasti-Dip, as recommended by Amy.  Just a word of caution - Plasti-Dip is addictive and you'll leave the process wanted to dip everything in your house in this mixture.  We may or may not have dipped a Strawberry Shortcake doll in Plasti-Dip.  Consider yourself warned.

2) I'll add some additional length to the band so that it fits better around my ribcage.

3) I'm debating reconfiguring the cups and bridge to allow for more of a plunge style  Part of me feels that I should wait until I have the basic bra perfected before I start messing with bigger elements and part of me says "just go for it."  We'll see which part wins.

As for the sewing, I used the Marlborough instructions, but I also relied heavily on Cloth Habit's bra sew-a-long.  I can not say enough good things about all the work that she put into putting that sew-a-long together.  Thank you!

I used fabric from a kit from Sweet Cups Bra Supply, although I used bra strapping from my stash since the bra strapping in the kit was too short.  Plus, I wanted my strapping to match my lace.  Speaking of which, both were dyed using Jacquard acid dye in the chartreuse color way.  The lace is from Tailor Made, which also seems to sell beautiful bra making kits.

Alright, folks, that's a wrap.  Now excuse me while I go put my shirt back on.

A Nettie Tee


You know how half the sewing community is out sewing jeans right now?  Well, I chose the lazy man's route and just bought myself some new ones (thank you, awesome after-Christmas sales).

They're one size larger (thank you, awesome Christmas food).

High-waisted (thank you, two pregnancies).

And flared (thank you, 1990's).

Of course, these jeans needed a new t-shirt because while long, flowy tees may work great with skinny jeans, they don't work all that great with these.  In an attempt to use what I had on hand, I turned to the Nettie Bodysuit pattern.  Bet you didn't know that I had that pattern?  That's probably because I never blogged about the one bodysuit that I ended up making because

1) bodysuits look pretty terrible on me and

2) I opted for the high front neck, medium back version and that also was not a good look for me.

I didn't want to totally scrap the pattern though, because I figured that the regular scoop neck version would work better on my silhouette and I saw that some other talented folks had good results in turning the bodysuit into a regular fitted tee.  That said, I knew that I wanted a fitted tee but not a skin-tight tee so I went up 2 sizes from my recommended size (I traced the top to the bust at a size 8 and then graded out to a size 10).  The result, thanks to the use of a cotton-lycra fabric, is more body-hugging than I intended, but it works seems to work well when I bunch it up slightly as it's worn (I like to refer to it as natural ruching).

As for making the bodysuit into a tee, I followed the footsteps of others and traced the body suit to around the hip level.  I then added 2.75 inches to the length at the lengthen/shorten line.  In sewing it all together, I started to worry that the neckline would be a little low so I sewed the neckband on with a smaller seam allowance (1/4 inch) resulting in a  thicker neckband.  In the end, it probably wasn't necessary but I really like the look of the thicker band and will probably opt to do it this way again.

And if the fabric looks familiar, it's left over from this little dress that I made for C.  I've kept it all this time with the intention of making myself a t-shirt (because someone my age totally needs a t-shirt covered with little cat heads).  I figured that I would end up making a Plantain Tee since I've had good luck with it in the past, but something about it just didn't seem right in my mind.  Personally, I think the universe was just telling me to hold on to it to make a Nettie Tee.


A Brief History of My Relationship with Knits


We met for the first time circa 2011,  when I first attempted to sew a t-shirt for teeny-tiny O (no seriously, look how little she is in these pictures).  It was a quasi-successful attempt.  The actual sewing was fairly easy, but man, did I have to struggle to get that sucker over her big toddler head.

At that time I was really only familiar with jersey knits, but I was soon introduced to interlock and cotton-lycra blends thanks to my first attempt at making undies for O (okay, this picture is actually from my second attempt).  At that time, good quality, cute knits were few and far between and the best options were usually only available on interlock fabric.  Unfortunately, I really didn't like working with interlock because of its tendency to get stretched out.  I was a much bigger fan of cotton-lycra blends and thankfully cute cotton-lycra options have become more available over the past couple of years thanks to companies like Art Gallery.  It's definitely been my knit fabric of choice.   I've used cotton-lycra blends to make tees, and dresses, and pjs, and everything in between.

But now I've branched out once again - only this time to ponte knits.  To be honest, I've avoided ponte knits in the past, thinking that the polyester fiber content would make them feel, well, kind of yucky.  It turns out that I was wrong because not only does this polyester/lycra blend ponte feel lovely, but ponte is the perfect fabric for certain projects.

Example number one would be this little Cocoon Dress that calls for a nice stable knit fabric (like ponte!).

The pattern is simple, but sweet.  It sews together incredibly easily and is right up O's alley when it comes to what she likes to wear nowadays.  I cut out a size five based on her chest measurement but added some length since she's about average size for a six year old.  Because of the high-low hem, it's a tad bit shorter than I would like in the front for a dress, but she'll probably be wearing it with tights or leggings for the time being so I'm not too concerned.

Also noteworthy - we took O to get her first ever professional haircut.  Up until now she's been suffering through my feeble attempts at cutting her hair.  It's been looking pretty ragged lately and she's been talking about wanting it shorter, so I figured that it was time to bring in some folks who actually know what they're doing.  Based on the smile on her face, I'd say that it was a pretty good decision.