Saturday, August 1, 2015

Saturday Life [01.08.15]: Fabric Shopping, Bliss Bras and a Potter Party

Hi All,

Is it really Saturday? Already? How did that happen! This week has absolutely flown by!

Firstly and to get it out of the way- no, my Etsy shop is not open yet *cries in despair*, it is taking longer than I expected to figure out all the shipping and packaging and everything. Canada Post definitely doesn't make it easy and straight forward! And I know I said this last week- but my new goal is to get it up and running sometime this week. There will be a post to announce the grande opening this week- if it's the last thing I do!!

So besides spending countless hours on the Canada Post website, figuring out which scale to purchase, dimensions and pricing, I have had a very busy week!


I'll start with the most exciting part of my week though! I made my way back to Hamilton for a little shopping and I stopped into the most luxurious lingerie shop I've ever been to! Bliss Bras!!

I thought I would pop in for a little inspiration and it was like being in a candy store! The best kind of candy store, like my Pinterest came alive... and I just soaked all the inspiration in!

Every corner was filled with another little treasure- a cute little bra, a stunning G-cup bra, beautiful lace, and the panties to match!! I was pretty much swooning left right and centre.

But the best part of the shop by far is the owner Tonilee! As soon as she knew I was also in the bra business we started talking shop and before I knew it three hours had passed! This is one amazing lady! She has impeccable taste in bras- and her shop stocks all the way to an N cup! very ambitious! It was SO great to meet you this week! xoxo

(So happy to have my new bosom buddy!!) 


The rest of my shopping trip passed in the usual way- scouting out for new fabric finds and hunting through remnant bins with my mom (it's an addiction!). Which always results in moments like this:


I've also managed to soak up some sunshine this week :) :) 

At Sandbanks with friends & little Gibby <3

Puppy in the sunshine :)

All my beach babe friends <3

Cove-explorer puppy! 

I also managed to get some fresh air and lots and lots of blueberries out picking with mom yesterday morning :) 

Blueberries are the best picking :) They are excellent this year, and way less bugs and hassle than the raspberries were!

nomnomnonm these are making up 75% of my diet at the moment. 


And last but most certainly not least- I went to a Harry Potter Party last night (on Harry Potter's Birthday, naturally). 

So of course this gang was broken out! Can't go to a Potter party without the Potter Puppet Pals!

And of course the night was spent sipping on some butter beer. Excellent party! Thanks Laura! 


One final thing- have you heard of the #sewphotohop that House of Pinheiro is hosting on instagram? Well it's basically a challenge where you post a photo everyday of all sewing related themes! And I thought I would give it a try! So if you follow me on instagram @theemeraldstudio then you can see all the photos I put up this August- and I hope to see lots of yours too!

Well- I hope you all had a great week! I'm off to the gym then to do some more work on the Etsy shop!

Let me know what you got up to this week! And if you're participating in #sewphotohop! 

xo erin

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bra-A-Week: Week 27 & a New Red Bra for Me!

Hi All!

Today I have a bra for Bra-A-Week! I wanted to experiment with some new fabrics, instead of always using either duoplex or cut&sew foam.

I found this amazing stable knit (it has no spandex or stretch, only mechanical give), but it's MUCH lighter than duoplex and is less rigid with more give. It's also nice and soft with a bit of a waffle design.

And of course it's bright red! which I love- and a little trick I learned from a friend at Bra-maker's, red is the perfect colour to wear under white- it doesn't show up! I've been wearing this ALL week (it's the most comfortable bra I've ever owned) and I wore it under white blouses- and no showing at all!

(Sorry I didn't find time to get a better than phone selfie pic!) But even from this you can see the fit is perfect!! There were a couple things that I did differently for this bra- firstly I really rounded this bra out, taking about 1/4" off the apex and spreading it out through the rest of he cross cup, and I split the lower cup for even more shaping and rounding. I think the horizontal seam also helps with rounding the shape. I love this shape- it's like my natural shape perfected!

All cut out and then poof! (after a few hours work lol) 

I think that the shape and fit is also due to the fabric. For me, I realize duoplex is just not the best option, it's too rigid. And I know that sounds crazy because you want your bra to have lots of shaping and support. But for me, while I am still young, pre-children and breastfeeding, and am self-supporting- duoplex is very difficult to work with. It's partly because my breast tissue is not very mouldable, and with duoplex you have to get the shape PERFECT, and quite tight to lay smooth with no wrinkles- my breasts will not just fill whatever shape you put them in. So for me and my tissue density, it is better to have a fabric that will give and mould around me. 

I still don't think that something with actual spandex stretch would be the best option for anyone- but something like this that is lighter and has more mechanical give is better for me. I also like the weight and give of 15 denier for lacy bras!

With this fabric this bra just seemed to whip up so quick! I even used it for the strap lined with a strip of twill tape. The other thing I did to make this bra more sleek is doubling the upper cup, so I could have a seam at the neckline and finish the top edge straight, and I also used 3/8" elastic for the top and bottom band, with no picots, which gave it a really clean finish!

And of course the bow! <3 <3 

So to recap the features of this bra are : full band, thin band, horizontal seam, split lower cup, double upper cup with a straight top, fabric front strap and full coverage with extra long wires! (that's quite a list!) 

If you want to see more lovely bras  right now you can hop over to Michelle's Creations, where she is hosting the Bra-A-Week Challenge!! (thanks lovely! <3) 

Have you had any bra-revelations? what fabric do you like for your bras?

Happy sewing!

xo erin

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saturday Life [25.07.15]: Meetings, tutorials & Gibby time

Hi All!

How are you this week?

My week has been all over the place- lots of meetings, lots of delays *sweats*, lots of sewing and lots of family! Thankfully I bought myself a new planner with lots of space!

So firstly you may have noticed that I don't have my Etsy store up yet.. I'm sorry! There have been a number of delays in figuring out the best shipping methods and trying to reduce shipping costs (Canada Post is astronomical!!) I've also decided that for the launch of the store and until I get a handle on it, I'm only going to be shipping to Canada and the USA. I know, I know, I'm sorry- and I promise that it won't be forever! Only for a little while, until I figure it all out!! But that being said I WILL be launching the Etsy store THIS WEEK- (even if it the only thing I do!) So make sure you keep your eyes peeled for that!

There have also been more delays with my studio space- waiting for city approval for the renovations, and some other renovations that need to be done- it should be mine for the fall..  I will have it one day *sighs*


In other news- the blog - if you didn't see this week I did a tutorial on sewing swimwear straps two ways!

I'm also going to be posting tomorrow for Bra-A-Week with this little red number I made this past week :) (yay for instagram selfies) You can look forward to this tomorrow.


In other news I've had a lovely week with the fam :)

Another waterfront day with the sister and the puppy :)

Have you ever seen a happier puppy?

Snap-peas from the garden :)

So many nice things- I wish summer will never end!

I've been really trying to work on my patience and stay relaxed about all the delays with my Etsy shop and my studio space- taking advantage of the extra time it's given me to have fun days out in the sunshine, and to be exercising (and working on more future plans ;) ) - but I have to say that it is stressing me out a bit- just nagging in the back of my mind * takes a deep calming zen breath *

How do you handle slow-ups, challenges and set backs?

Have you been enjoying your summer?

xo erin

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tutorial: Two Ways to Sew Swimwear Straps

Hi All!

Today I have a tutorial!! YAY!! I know I've been promising more tutorials on swimwear this summer and here is my first! and it's picture heavy!!

When you make swimwear chances are your going to need to make some straps- like bikini strings, or little halter straps but these techniques also apply on wider straps too!

I like to make my bikini strings with elastic in them. Generally straps are going to have to hold up against some lifting and pulling, and I find that swimwear alone is too weak and will stretch further than your stitches will allow for, giving you less support and more chances of popped stitches.

The elastic I use for narrow straps/strings is the same as my general swimwear elastic- I like a silicone coated rubber, in 9mm width (which is a hair under 3/8"). But, as I said, this technique applies to wider elastics too!


This is a one-stitch method, where you are essentially stitching your elastic to the seam allowance of your fabric and turning it right side out- it has to be a little more precise with measurements and stitch placement. Let me break it down:

First you start off with your fabric- you need a strip of your swimwear fabric that is exactly 4X the width of your swimwear elastic- so for my 3/8" elastic that would be 12/8" or 1 1/2"- by however long you want your strap. I love to do this with my quilting ruler and my rotary cutter!

Now that you have your strip you fold and pin it in half lengthwise, right sides in like this:

Then you line up your elastic with the cut edges of your strip of fabric. (you can pin this but I find the elastic is a nightmare to pin, and it's easier to just feed it in as you go). You will notice that the fold of fabric that your elastic doesn't cover is the same width as your elastic.

Now your going to stitch through your elastic and layers of swim fabric with a zig-zag stitch, something with a good amount of stretch allowance. On my machine like to use a 2.5 X 2.5 stitch.  Don't stretch your elastic when you do this!

It's important that your stitches are towards the inside of the elastic (towards the fold of fabric)- you want one of your stitches right on the edge of your elastic. This is important because it determines the size of tube you are creating for the cover of the elastic- too far to the outside edge of your elastic and your tube will be too big, and if you stitch off the elastic into the fabric fold then you make the tube too small! It should look like this:

Now you have to turn your strap. This is the part that is a bit of a pain- the best method is to close off one end of your tube and use the 'stick and the straw'. - this one is called the "Turn it All"

You feed your straw through the tube up to the closed end,

This is partly where the frustration can come- if you have a LONG strap (like the rib-cage string on a bikini!) there is a lot of squeezing and squishing to get all your strap on the tube without it coming off the other end!

Then when you get to the end you use the stick to poke it though your straw, turning it right-side out!

Your final result is a string, with a seam near the back edge of your strap- and a plain front, all seam allowances enclosed! It's also nice because the elastic is stitched down in the strap so it can't twist or bunch! You will see the stitches at the seam but they are very minimal- in this example I used a contrasting black just so you could see better- I should also tighten up my stitch a little!

I like this method because you can do it in one stitch- and all the edges are enclosed. Also with matching thread and a nice tight stitches the seam is almost invisible giving it a very professional look! The downside is having to turn it (you will know what I mean when you try it!) and also- if you do ever break a stitch on this, you pretty much have to turn it back inside out to fix it *gulps*. 

So to compare here's another way!


This method is slowly winning for me- it takes less precision, less measuring and is a little quicker for long straps/strings- but it does have a different result- both methods have a place!

For this method you are going to cut your strip of swimwear at least 4X wider than your elastic- but this doesn't have to be precise. You could also just use the straight edge of your whole yardage of swimwear fabric.

You start by lining up your elastic at the outer edge of your strip of fabric, with the wrong side of the fabric touching the elastic.

Then you're going to stitch your elastic to the fabric- again don't stretch your elastic.

Use a zig-zag (again I used a 2.5 X 2.5), and your going to stitch towards the outer edge of your elastic- it doesn't have to be right on the edge but you want to keep it closer to that side. It should look like this:

 Then you're going to take your elastic and your going to fold it once in toward the fabric with the right side of the fabric out,

Then you're going to fold it a second time in towards the fabric, so that your stitches are hidden, and are facing away from you.

Now you're going to stitch that down. As your stitching you want to make sure that you keep some tension on your extra fabric hanging out to the side, so that it stays nice and smooth and the elastic stays wrapped up tight!

You're going to stitch towards the 'inner edge' of your elastic - towards the extra fabric, this will make sure that your first line of stitching doesn't show. But you don't want to stitch right on the edge- leave about 1/8-1/4 of an inch from the outside of your stitch to the edge of you elastic.

Then you flip it over and trim off your extra fabric- this is why it's good to leave that 1/8-1/4" to the edge of your elastic- so when you trim the fabric it stays neat on the backside of your strap and doesn't stick out from the edge.

What I like about this method is that it is also very secure- if for any reason your stitches break, there is a double row of stitching, and you can also go over it and fix it without too much bother. It's also so quick and easy- no turning the straps right side out, no precise measurements to worry about for accuracy.  I also find this easier for wider straps. The downside is that you have a visible zig-zag on the outside, and a raw edge (although swimwear doses't fray).  

I've used both methods quite a bit:

This is the first method for some sleek strings on this bikini from Week 12 :

And the second method for some wide straps on the back of my retro suit from Week 23:

Which method do you like better?

Also what other swimwear tutorials would you like to see this summer?

Happy Sewing!

xo erin

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday Life [23.07.15]: Swimwear Kits, Painting Tables & Fun with Friends

Hi All!

I've had a busy week- what about you?

It's been another week with a million little things. I'm feeling like a bit of a hamster on a wheel right now!

One of the first things on my list this week was getting some swimwear kits together for my upcoming Etsy shop, figuring out what all I was going to put in them, how much they weigh, shipping and the rest.

I'm loving all the prints I picked out! And I am so eager to get this Etsy shop up and running! I think I'll be able to launch it sometime this week! So you an expect a post about that!  :) :) :)

A quick question- what do you want in a swimwear kit? What types of prints are you most drawn to? I just can't help myself with the bright prints!

The next thing I've been working on this week is the progress with the tables for my shop!! And I have new additions- firstly my big beautiful cutting table! (I will be properly fixing the mat down to the top as soon as the legs dry!)

It has joined a fleet with my two student tables and another cabinet table that will be a good cutting table for students!

This week has been all about painting the table legs! I picked this nice grey colour! And mom and Gibby helped me get everything painted! It's so exciting how it's all coming together! Thanks mom & dad! (and Gibby for the moral support!)

Aside from all this lovely business and studio prep I've managed to go out and have lots of fun too!!!

Last Sunday I celebrated my sisters birthday with her! And we got take-out thai and brought Gibby to the waterfront! (we all had a blast!) Happy Birthday Kristie!! <3 <3

I also went and explored Port Hope with a friend- all for studio and signage research of course! (and maybe just a little bit of cookie and latte time)

And we may have stopped to see Magic Mike XXL in the evening, purely for research purposes of course. In case I have to make an exceptionally revealing mens bathing suit for a client. I may have to go and see it again and get a second look though... just to be extra thorough in my research.

And the last cool thing I did this week was some raspberry picking with my mom :) The bushes are overflowing with them! It's definitely the year of the raspberry!

That was my life this past week, summed up on a Saturday!  I think I achieved a good balance of work and fun! Maybe a little emphasis on the fun! But it summer after all!

How was your week? Did you do anything fun?

Also let me know if you're enjoying these posts. I know I'm a super nosy person and I love to know what people get up to in their day-to-day lives (I watch too many vloggers on youtube..) are you one of those people too?

Hope your weekend is awesome :)

xo erin