Sunday, June 26, 2016

[BAW26] June Round Up!



Hi All!

Can you believe that June is already coming to an end? It seems like it just flew right by, and I'm loving it! I'm definitely a summer soul, so I've been out in the sunshine, loving life! I just can't stay inside in the summer!

And you guys have make some beautiful bras & things this season! WOW! On we go!

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First we have a beautiful white set from Raisa of Olympian Cotton!






Raisa made this bra using the Watson longline pattern from Cloth Habit. She used this dreamy white lace! So gorgeous!







She paired this with some lace panties to match, using a modified version of the Watson Bikini brief, so that she could have the beautiful scalloped lace edge on the leg :)


And a set this light and dreamy deserves a garter belt! She made this one using her own self-drafted pattern How pretty is this!

Make sure to check out Raisa's full post about this set over on her blog!








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Next we have a lovely foam bra from Genevieve of Sew a Button on Your Underwear!





Genevieve is tickled pink by her new pink T-shirt bra, and I can see why! It's a beauty!  She made this using the Amanda pattern from PUG patterns.


Make sure you check out her post all about it over on her blog! 





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Next we have a pretty bra from the lovely Samantha!






This is the first time that Samantha has made a partial-band bra and it turned out beautifully! I love the colours and that lovely lace that she used on the upper cup- and the pop of that bow! Love it!









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Next we have some lovely submissions from Ilna!







Ilna made this lovely set using some mustard coloured fabric remenant that she got from a friend and paired it with some beautiful black lace. She used the Azalia pattern, and altered it to have a gothic arch, and butterfly lace- SO pretty!



She's also been busy making some panties- these gorgeous burgundy lace panties using the Sew So Easy lace undies pattern, and the other pair using a modified MakeBra Hipsters pattern and some pretty ruffle elastic! Love!




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Next we have a stunning bodysuit from the lovely Sofia of Silver Lining Atelier!





Sofia got to be a pattern tester for the new Cindy underwired bodysuit pattern from Ohhh lu lu! And what a beautiful body suit she made!

I adore these colours, and the contrast of the elastic, so pretty!




The fit for the body was spot-on, but she needed a little more room in the cups- very pretty design though, and wonderfully made!

Make sure to read all about this bodysuit over on Sofia's blog!  








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Next we have some super fun makes from Ciara of Crabigail Adams!





Ciara was super busy this month! First she made this adorable Vintage Valentine's bra and panty set! This reminds me so much of a vintage Valentine's card! So sweet!


You can read her blog post on this set here :)  




Next she made this Bluebird bra and panty set, where she modified the pattern for a gothic arch! Great detail! And I love the use of lace! I feel like I could look at your work forever and there's always more to see!

You can read the full post on this bra here! 







And last but not least Ciara ended the month with this self-drafted bathing suit! Love it! It has a built in bra, and who doesn't like the combo of stripes and fruit- so fresh, and it looks fantastic on!




Check out the full post on this lovely suit here :)  









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And last but certainly not least we have these two beautiful from Ginny!









Ginny loves to make bras for her very luck niece Emma, and wow she must have a beautiful collection now! I absolutely love this pink lace diagonal seamed beauty!!







For this second bra she used the Shelly pattern from PUG patterns. I just love the colour, the lace and those adorable little rosettes! How sweet is this! I feel like you need to be on a picnic eating chocolate dipped strawberries when you're wearing this! Love!!









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And there it is! Your round-up for June! So many beautiful things to admire this month, as always, you guys are unendingly talented!

As always, don't forget to check out the Pinterest boardand pin all of your lovelies over there! And if you're on Instagram and posting your lovely makes- don't forget to add in #braaweek!! You can go here to grab a challenge button!


 Don't forget to send your bra next month to bra.a.week@gmail.com with your photos, description and links for the next Round-Up post!



As for next month- have to say that I don't even know! Summer for me is a time to be free, laissez-faire, and sew-with-the-flow! My only theme is going to be summer fun! Which means you're probably going to see some swimwear, and maybe a bra from me :) 

Do you have any plans for July?

Let me know, and let me know how much you love all the makes this month too!! 

xo 

erin

Saturday, June 25, 2016

[BAW 25] A Floral Tankini for Mom


Hi All!

It's the big reveal!! It was so strange being behind the camera instead of in front of the camera this time! But I'm so excited with how this tankini turned out, and mom is too!!

In case this is your first glimpse of this gorgeous tankini- I did two tutorials based around it! One is on Bra Making with Foam, and the other is on Turning your Bra into a Tankini!



This suit was directly inspired by mom and everything that she's looking for in a swimsuit: support and lift in the cups, and a little extra fullness and coverage around the middle. Mom's body type is an apple shape (which my sister and I can take full credit for - we were both huge babies),  and her waist measurement is almost the same as her hip measurement, so the ideal bathing suit is one that nips in right under the bust, then flows away towards the hip.



The basis for this tankini top is a 3-piece cup bra pattern that I designed custom for mom. The inner layer is cut & sew foam covered with a seamed layer of black swimwear fabric, then over the top I added the stretch mesh. Rather than seam the stretch mesh, which I thought would be too bulky, I just used my pattern piece to make a solid cover that is ruched at the bottom of the cup. I thought it was a really pretty solution that almost makes it look like moulded cup!

For the bra frame I used: a layer of 15 denier for stability, a layer of black swimwear then a layer of stretch mesh. The back band is just a layer of black powernet with a layer of stretch mesh over top.


I finished the top edge with black binding, and made some simple high-waisted bottoms out of the same black to go underneath.

The high-waisted bottoms are perfect, because they can still give a little bit of tummy control, and you can just see them and a tiny bit of upper-stomach through the slightly sheer stretch-mesh!



I'm SO happy with how this suit turned out, and I'm proud to report that mom says it's her favourite bathing suit she's ever owned! It has the comfort of a bra, it camouflages the mid-section without being tight and ruched, and it's super light-weight and fun!

Mom is turning 50 this year (can you believe it!) and my number one goal is to only make things that I would also wear (no old- lady bathing suits allowed!) and I can definitely say that I have some serious swimwear envy over this one! :)


Now I have some slightly disappointing news. I was planning to have a big surprise give-away of a tankini kit with everything I used to make this suit. However, Canada Post looks like they're going on strike very soon, which means anything I put in the mail could get stuck there until the strike is over. I've looked into different shipping options for the giveaway, and for my Etsy shop, but the prices are pretty steep and right now I think the best option will be to temporarily close my shop and postpone this giveaway until the strike is over or until I figure out an alternative. But I do promise that I will be having this giveaway in the future (as well as a couple limited kits for sale!), so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for that!

But I'll end the post on a happier note, with this picture of Gibby, the happiest puppy in the world, moments before he shakes and showers mom with a million droplets of water. :D


How are your sewing plans coming along this summer? Made anything super cute?

I'm getting all ready for the submission post going out tomorrow, so if you have any last minute entires- make sure you get them in right away!!

Also let me know what you think of this tankini, and if you think you'll use the bra making with foam or turning your bra into a tankini tutorials I put out earlier this week!

:) :)

xo


erin

Thursday, June 23, 2016

How To: Turn your Bra into a Tankini!


Hi All!

It's the second bonus tutorial! Because I love you all so much!

This is one of my favourite tutorials so far, taking your favourite bra pattern and turning it into a beautiful tankini! 

As after using all the tips in my Bra-making with Foam tutorial from earlier, I made up a foam-cup bra, and stopped right at the stage where you start to apply your elastics. That is when you add the tankini in! 

I made this tankini using a beautiful floral print stretch mesh- which is perfect for a tankini because it is light, flowy, and doesn't need to be hemmed- perfect!  

Now another thing I should mention is that this tutorial is designed for a full-frame bra pattern, rather than a partial band pattern. - Let's begin!

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To start you want to take your front frame/cradle and tape it together with your back band along the seamline. You can use your bra pattern exactly as-is if you plan to finish in the back with a hook & eye closure. If you would rather have a more 'swimwear' look you can also narrow your band to fit into a G-Hook, I've narrowed mine to fit into a 1" G-hook at the back, and then I've added a tail of about 2" to give some fitting and wiggle room when I thread it through the G-hook at the end. 


Now you'll want to trace the bottom of you bra frame, marking the center front, the side seam, and the center back (this is the bra hook placement- which would be the point you attach your hook & eye, or the fold point that your g-hook would sit in). In this photo I traced all the way past the g-hook fold, but please ignore that.


Now that you have this, you want to measure on your body how long you want your tankini skirt. Do this by starting at the center front of your bra, at the bottom of your bridge, then measure down your body to the point you want your tankini to end. For my mom this was 13".

Then on your pattern measure straight down from the center front and the center back 13", making a box.

If you left your pattern like this, you would have a very straight tankini skirt, with no allowances for your hips.



In the back of this tankini, you want to have some wiggle room to fasten your bra hook. Measure approximately 1.5" in from the center back along your bra-frame line, and 3" down the back of your back seam, and connect these in an arc. This will give a nice little space in the back to allow for your bra fastening.



Now this is the point where you want to add in all your volume, and I like nothing more than a lovely flouncy tankini skirt!

I like to use the slash and spread method, where you slash your pattern, the spread it to add some volume. This gives a lovely circle-skirt type of volume, so there is no extra gathering and bulk at your bra frame, but it just flounces and flows out from there in waves! Really flattering and easier to sew!

For this tankini skirt I've drawn lines where I want to split the pattern and add some volume: one in the middle of the back, one at the side seam, one in the middle of the front, and then I want to add some big fun volume in the front, so I've added 5 lines, which will all be slashed and spread. I've also added just a little at the center back seam that you can see!


Now to the slashing and spreading! Remember that this is one side of your pattern piece, so the extra you add will be to both sides! I find that with stretch mesh- you really can't go too wrong- it's so forgiving and light!

I decided that for the middle back, side seam, middle front, and the first two front slashes, I would add 3" of width. I did that by slashing along my line, inserting a piece of paper under, and measuring a 3" gap between the old hemline marks.

To create some bigger drama, I added 5" to the three front slashes closest to the center front.



Also (and of course I didn't get a picture of this step)- You need to add a seam allowance along the top frame edge, this allowance should be the same width as the elastic that you are using for the bottom band of your bra, since this will be sewn into the bottom elastic allowance on the frame of your bra.

Add a standard 1/4" seam allowance along your center back seam (or whatever seam width you like to sew your stretch mesh with).

At the center front I'm going to be leaving my tankini open, so that it has a slit up the front. For a nice finish with this style I like to add a little extra seam allowance, about a 1/2", this is so that I can fold it in on itself (so there are no raw edges showing) and so that I can overlap the fronts.

Once you have your skirt pieces cut out you will take you your bra that you've made up (just the the point of before you add your elastics)


Then you can see laying this out, just how your skirt pieces will be attaching to your bra- you want to attach them along the bottom frame of your bra.


So flip your skirt pieces so they are right sides together with your bra, and pin it along the bra frame, remember to line it up just overlapping the center front (so that your skirt pieces overlap) and you skirt should end 1.5" in from your hook and eye.

( In this picture you can see how I fold it in on itself just to hide the raw edge from the outside)

After you've pinned both sides, I like to baste it down with a zig-zag stitch like this, you can faintly see that the bra is under these skirt pieces in the picture below.

Once you have it like this, with the skirt side up, you will stitch your elastic to this edge. Imagine there is no skirt piece and you are sewing your elastic to the bottom edge of your bra just like you normally would.


The next step is to sew your elastic, on the second pass, like you normally would, only when your flipping it back in towards the bra cups, make sure that you separate your tankini skirt from the bra frame, so that your skirt is going down and your bra is going up.


This way your elastic will only be shown on the inside, and your tankini skirt just looks like it's seamed with your bra frame. It's a very similar technique to if you were adding a ruffle there, or piping.



Then all you have to do is finish sewing up your bra as usual, however you planned, and sew up your center back seam of your tankini skirt!

And voila!!



It's really super easy! And with the stretch mesh it's even better because you don't have to worry about hemming or finishing the edges, it's best to keep it very simple and light!



I can't wait to show you the photo shoot I did with my mom for this one so you can see it on her!

I also have another little surprise for you with the photoshoot reveal! :) ;)

So much fun stuff happening!!

Do you like tankinis? Do you think you'll use this tutorial?

Talk to me in the comments!!

xo

erin

Sunday, June 19, 2016

[BAW24]: How To: BraMaking with Foam



Hi All,

It's still Sunday! I know I know, I've been total crap at posting this month- I completely missed last week- but I have a very valid excuse- I joined the quarter century club, that is- I turned 25- and it was a weekend of celebration and family and friends, and there were too many surprise plans to get anything done!

But of course I'm going to make it up to all you lovelies! So I'm starting today with a trio of posts! Today is a tutorial on using cut & sew foam in your bra/bathing suit, the next post will be on making your bra into a tankini oh la la, and the final post will be showing off the lovely tankini that I made for my mom :)

So on with todays tutorial!



How To: BraMaking with Foam 


I'm going to start off by saying that I love foam. I'm a huge fan. I think that it helps so much to add structure, support, coverage and comfort in bras and especially in bathing suits.

There are different names and styles of foam that you can get for bra making, but they are all generally a layer of foam that has been laminated with fabric on both sides so that it's nicer to work with. It can be called: cut & sew foam, bra foam, polylaminate foam padding (which would mean it's laminated with polyester), it can also be called sheet foam. There are various thicknesses, qualities and fabric lamination that you can find, they're all different and the best one is the one that you like the best.


-- shameless self-promo here -- I've found a foam that I import from France, it's laminated in the softest microfiber, and it's nice and thin (1.6mm) meaning that it doesn't add too much volume, more just the softness, smoothness and overall shape of foam, and I completely adore it! It's everything I love in foam, and I've been using it with everything I make since I got it! --

Here is a link to my foam

So once you've picked your foam, and you have your pattern that you like, you'll need to add different seam allowances to your foam pieces than you do to the fabric that you're planning to cover the foam with.

I'm going to say now- the #1 goal of sewing with foam is that you never fold the foam- it's just too bulky. If you are seaming your foam together- it should be butt-together with a zig-zag stitch not seamed in a traditional way, and you should try to finish the edges in a way that the foam doesn't get folded back on itself.

I'm going to show you the process of this step-by-step!

To start: this is my cup pattern, with no seam allowances:


For the inner foam layer, you only want to add seam allowances into the wireline.

*this is if you're making a standard full-frame bra (not partial band) where you seam allowance along with wireline and channelling is going to be folded away from the bra*

You want to make sure that it you include this seam allowance so the foam gets caught under the channelling and is finished nicely on this area of the cup. Otherwise you don't want to add any seam allowances to the underarm, neckline or the inner cup seams.

That will look like this:


Once you have your foam all lined-up, you will want to think about your cup-cover. For cup covers- there are many different fabric options you can choose- stretch and non-stretch- the only thing to consider with a non-stretch fabric is that you want to be quite precise with your sewing and your seam allowances to make sure that it fits over your foam perfectly, because you won't have the same stretch and wiggle room that you have with a stretch fabric. Generally the added support and structure of foam gives you a lot more freedom with your fabric choice.

Once you've chosen your cup-cover, you will want to figure out your seam allowances for your cup cover. These will be the same as if you weren't using the foam. So you will want to make sure that you have your seam allowances at the wireline, for the inner cup seams, and whatever neckline and underarm seam allowances you planned. For this bra I planned to have binding on the underarm and neckline, so I didn't add any seam allowances.



So that part of a foam cup is as easy-peasy as it sounds, just sew up the foam (butting and zig-zaging, I have an old tutorial for sewing foam over on the sewcialist blog) then sew your cover as usual, then you can pin and position them together, they should match well along the wireline, and depending on the way you're finishing your neckline and underarm you might have seam-allowance hang-over, or it might fit perfectly flush (as with a bound edge). 


So with that in mind- I'm going to show the two ways I like to finish the free-edges (neckline/underarm) of bras with foam.

There are two main finishes: 

The Elastic Finish ---- or The Bound Edge 



I'm going to start with the bound-edge because it's my favourite!

OPTION 1 - The Bound Edge 

In this situation, you should have no seam allowances on your foam, or your cover along the neckline and underarm edges- and they should end together at the edge like this:


Then you want to cut a strip of binding, at least 4X the width that you want your finished bound-edge. So for this one, I want a 1/4" bound edge so I cut my strip at least 1" wide.

With right sides together pin your binding to the front of your free-edge.


Then you will stitch whatever width you wish for your bound edge to have, in this case I'm stitching 1/4", which I think is a great choice.


Then it will look like this:


Then like any traditional bound edge, you flip your binding up and around to the other side, from the other side it will look like this with all the layers showing.


Then you'll want to pin the binding down, enclosing the raw edge. You want it to be comfortably snug, so that it's not loose, but you don't want to squeeze the layers- so that you can maintain that nice 1/4" distance that you sewed. I like to pin this down, just so I don't have to worry about it while I'm sewing it down.


Then you just stitch in the ditch- trying to be as accurate as you can- and presumably using a matching thread colour, rather than the example black stitching that I'm showing you lol. Also if you prefer, I've stitched this with a zig-zag that is one-on and one-off the edge of the binding, and that works too.


On the underside you just trim off the excess fabric. This is of course something that is ideal for a knit fabric (which would be my bra fabric recommendation), but if you are using a woven fabric that could fray, than you might want to use a more traditional binding approach, where the binding is folded under on the underside and stitched.



OPTION 2 - The Elastic Finish

Now this other option is also great, and really good if you want the added support of elastic at your neckline or underarm.

For this method you want to make sure that you add an elastic allowance that matches whatever width of elastic you plan to use to finish the edge (in this case I'm using a 3/8" elastic). And this will only be added to your cover fabric, not your foam.

I like to pin my fabric to my foam along those edges, just to hold them in place.


Then from the front side of your cup, just like you normally would (with your plush elastic side up), you will sew your elastic to the edge of the fabric. You want to butt your elastic up to where you can feel the foam end, so you are only sewing your elastic to the fabric and not the foam. And you want to sew on the inside edge of the elastic with a zig-zag stitch.


From the front it will look like this:


From the inside it will look like this, (At this point your foam is only attached with the pins, and NOT caught in the elastic)


Then you want to flip your elastic inwards, over the foam, encasing the raw edge of the foam. This is why it's important not to stitch your elastic to your foam, because if you do, you will be folding your foam over on itself, making for a very bulky edge.


Then you will stitch down your elastic, on the inside edge- to secure it down, just like you normally would with your bra elastics.


In this example I've placed the picots so they're facing in, so I can have a nice straight edge, but on bras you might normally like the picot showing.



And from the front you have your usual line of zig-zag stitching, the same as your regular fabric bra. But this time you have a foam lining - without the bulk.



As you can see both options offer very low-bulk finishes:

The Bound Edge Method:


The Elastic Finish Method:


Not only low-bulk which is nice to look at- but it's also easier to sew.


Which finish do you like the best? Binding or elastic?

I'm a bound-edge girl myself, I just love a contrasting bound edge, I think it looks so clean and sharp- I'm sure you're used to seeing it from me now!

Do you like to sew with foam?

Were there any foam-bra related things that I didn't cover that you're still wondering about?

Let me know!


xo

erin