Harriet: My First Wired Bra

It appears to be bra month around here at Phee Fabrics if you haven’t noticed already. I started off with a pattern that has been in my stash for a couple of years, then once I received my lace realized that it wasn’t going to work for my pattern. So I set to find a different pattern because I had a look I was going for, and had to use this beautiful black and white lace.


I then decided to use Cloth Habit’s Harriet Bra Pattern in view C, it comes in sizes 28-41 A-H. I used the Cloth Habit uses the UK method for bra sizing, and provides a sizing guide on their site so you can figure out if the pattern will work for you before you buy. Since I haven’t worn a real bra in far too long, my closest thing to a real bra is from Athleta and comes in a size medium made for cups A-C, so I’m not sure how to compare the sizes. I made a size 32DD, and the fit worked out pretty well, although I did find the band a tad tight.


With this being my first underwire bra that I’ve sewn, and first lace item, I made a lot of mistakes with the actual sewing (I’ll share some tips at the end of my post so you don’t make the same ones). I used Phee’s Heavy Duty Underwires, which I initially ordered in what I thought was my bra size, plus one size over and one size under. I found out that the largest of the three would work for only my right breast, and it was really easy to send back the other 2 and get the next 2 sizes. I loved that I wasn’t stuck with wires that wouldn’t work for me and I got the wires I did need.


I got a little scissor happy and started cutting into my lace and quickly realized it wasn’t going to look the way I wanted it to. So I ordered some additional 9” wide white lace to use for the rest of the cups and the cradle. I used a lot of different materials on this bra, but with them all coming from Phee, they worked together beautifully. I wanted to pull from the black in the lace at the top of the cups, so I opted to use black notions and black powernet for the wings of the bra. I love how they all come together.


Materials Used




  • Follow the instructions on the pattern, and if they don’t make sense, then see if your pattern maker has a photo tutorial on their website. I don’t suggest trying to make things up as you go, that’s where I got in trouble. I decided to not follow the instructions and it made things really hard in the end. Cloth Habit does have a great Sew Along if you need more help.
  • The Harriet calls for a 1/2” band elastic, I didn’t pay any attention to this, and I should have lengthened the seam allowance on the cradle and band to account for this and make for easier sewing.
  • Don’t stretch elastic when it says hold taunt, I did this on my clear elastic at the top of my cup on my scalloped elastic, and now it’s not smooth, it pulls in on my breasts.
  • Practice stitches on scraps of the same lace/powernet/fabric combos before actually sewing on your bra. I don’t know the last time I’ve used my seam ripper as much as I did on one project as I did on this bra. And trying to take seams out of a lace bra is not the easiest.
  • When sewing your hook and eye on, make sure they are facing the correct direction before sewing. I accidentally sewed my hook on so that it faces out.

Happy bra sewing!

Note: This post contains affiliate links to products. All opinions and thoughts are my own. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

If it’s free, maybe it’s NOT for me

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links, as noted. If you make a purchase using one of my affiliate links, it will cost you nothing extra, but will send a little “cha-ching!” my way. 🙂

I was SO EXCITED when I heard that Phee Fabrics (aff) was stocking bra-making supplies! I have always had a hard time finding ready-to-wear bras. I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life, and my breasts are far from being firm and perky. Plus I’m now 45 and have had a child that I breast-fed for over a year, so…

Anyway…I thought, now that I have been sewing for myself for a few years, why not try making my own bra? I thought that I would start with something simple…a bralette..and a free one at that! I picked the Barrett Bralette from Madalynne Intimates. This free download comes in sizes XS-3XL, and it states in the pattern that it’s “generally intended for smaller sizes – cup sizes AA-C”.

I was excited to get started, and selected my supplies from Phee!


Affiliate links to supplies:

Note: You can also just buy a convenient Bra Kit (aff) and get everything you need!! (P.S. I ended up not using the hook and eye fastener.)

I had downloaded this pattern a while ago, and thought it so cute! I really should have paid attention to the fact that it looked cute on a mannequin that had pretty much no boobage.

I’m not even sure what size I am in ready-to-wear bras, as the last time I bought them (which was when I finally ditched my nursing bras 12 years ago), I ended up with some that were for a “range” of sizes. I wear the XS, which equates to a 32A-C, I think. Based on my measurements, I printed the size L in the Barrett. I cut out my pieces and got ready to get started.

Once I had the front/side cups and band sewn together, before adding any elastics, I tried it on, and thought it was a bit big through the back band. I thought maybe adding the elastics would tighten it up, so I just forged ahead. I should have gone with my instincts at that point, which were telling me to redo the back band and take out some of the excess, but, not being experienced in bra-making at all, I didn’t.

On to the elastic. Here is where the pattern failed me. There are no measurements given for the lengths, which was fine for the front neck and the little cut-out in the front, as they apparently should be 1-1. However, all the instructions say about the underarm/back elastic is that you should stretch it, but then in states “I didn’t use any calculation, and have developed a “feel” for how much to stretch, which you will too with practice ;)”. Um…thanks?

So, I was really just winging it from this point. I started pinning/clipping my elastic, stretching as I went, and hoped for the best. Sewing it was a nightmare…things kept shifting, and then weren’t caught with my zigzag, so I had to unpick and redo…multiple times.

Then came the underbust/band elastic. Again, no measurements given, so I went with 2″ less than my underbust measurement. Once I got it sewn, I tried it on, and wow…SO BIG. At this point, I was not going to take all the elastic off and redo the back band…I had already unpicked way too many times, so I went to my trusty serger and just serged off about 3″ on the back.

That was the only way to somewhat salvage this, but to be honest, this bralette is pretty much unwearable for me. There isn’t any real support, despite using the powernet for my lining layer, and it’s really hard to get on and off over my shoulders. I don’t think a bralette is for me. I need more support, so maybe I just need to find another pattern and try again. In this instance, “if it’s free, it’s for me!” was not the case!!

Here are the results…and I’m only smiling because my husband made me laugh commenting on my previous “grumpy face”. Which was caused by making this bra.


Some good points about this bralette – the seams are all fully-encased, which is nice, and the instructions are pretty good, except for adding the elastics. She recommends using a spray adhesive for the front cups, which I didn’t have, but used a glue stick. I would also either baste or glue the side cups/back band AFTER attaching them, as they really tried to shift on me while adding the elastics. Not fun.

In conclusion, I would NOT recommend this pattern for a beginner. Not unless you are prepared to start with scrap fabrics and maybe sacrifice some elastic as you go. I know I will not be making this pattern again. The fit and style are just not right for me. The only thing that made this project somewhat bearable was the amazing supplies from Phee! The lace and elastics are so comfortable, and I’m sorry now that I wasted them on this pattern. Oh, well. After a break, I hope to try another bra…but not until I’ve had a chance to recover from this one.




Mixing Metaphors….or fabric types…that works too!

This month for #PheeJuly,I made for you the Stitch Upon a Time Spoxxy Tank! I used Phee Fabrics Tricot in Pinkalicious nylon/spandex tricot and white stretch lace. It’s freaking awesome! (I made an XL graded out to a 2X in the hips)

My tips today are on working with two types of fabrics! This can be a daunting task. I’m here to let you know that, you’re right to be terrified….. just kidding! It’s actually easy! Very rarely does it require fear. Unlike dating in this day and age, sewing with multiple fabrics just takes a little prep.

First and foremost – GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER!!!


As you can see, I have my printed pattern (obviously THIS is super important!), my 2 fabrics (prewashed), my tape, the directions to my pattern printed out (I’m old school and need it printed out – I lose my place if it is on the computer), and most importantly – my entertainment!!! For this project, I knew I was going to be working in two locations, my house and my mom’s house, so I chose a more portable activity than my usual binged television shows. I chose my absolute favorite podcast – Small Town Murder. Now, my boys, Jimmie and James, know how to keep me laughing and tell a murder story. If you have an irreverent, inappropriate sense of humor like me, I recommend checking it out. If you don’t, I never told you about it. Like my boys say (I lay claim like I know them personally…) if you don’t think true crime and comedy go together, it was nice knowing you.

Ok…the important stuff outta the way – This week I listened to “I Think I’ll Read It Again” about a murder in Alabama. Alabama murder in a trailer park and tricot sewing! Almost as amazing a swimsuit sewing and the Wire!! Now, a Small Town Murder episode lasts like an hour 45. I got everything but topstitching done before the episode was over. (I measure sewing time in episodes, so what?)

This was SUCH a quick sew. And a PERFECT pattern to mix fabrics with. The first thing to do when using two stretch fabrics, is make sure your highest level of stretch is going the same direction. This makes for a less wonky seam. That is TOTALLY a technical term.

If you are sewing a stretch fabric with a woven fabric, you can sew with or against the stretch. What I usually do is sew with the stretch with the grain and against the stretch against the grain. The grain “slides” more in my experience. Other seamstresses my do the opposite! If your woven is on the bias, that’s a whole other ball of wax and you may want to play with some scrap and see what moves best. If you’re using prints…..godspeed.

The top dial is my stitch width. That means how wide the needle zigs out. The stitch length is the top knob. That means how tall that “Z” shape is.

The second thing to do when using two types of fabric is to choose your stitch. As I am using a stretch fabrics, I need a stretch friendly stitch. My machine does nothave a stretch stitch. I use a zig zag stitch. These are the settings I place my machine at. I use these specific settings because I have used them before and these work best for me.

I like to run a few test stitches on a scrap piece of fabric if I am using a new variety or a new combination. A little prep work works wonders.

Just as I got around to doing my test stitches, I was learning all about how Irvington, Alabama is NOT somewhere I want to live…. And the demographics of small town is one of my favorite things to learn about. #YesIAMAHugeDork #ButILoveSewing&MurderStories

Now I know that mixing fabrics and sewing with weird new fabric types sometimes makes your sewing machine act possessed by demons. It’s not, I promise. Well, I’m pretty sure it’s not. So put away the holy water and get out the tape and tissue paper. No we are not wrapping it up and sending it to your nan. These are the simplest ways to deal with asshole fabrics!

The tape – scotch brand tape works best (the purple one actually I prefer for this, but the green one works too!) goes on the underside of your sewing machine foot. It makes the fabric slide through! It also works if you ever sew with vinyl. The tissue paper goes under the fabric. This makes the fabric go over the feed dogs (those jagged teeth that walk your fabric through the needle plate) nice and smooth. You tear the paper away, easy peasy! These two simple tools make life a little easier when using wonky fabrics, especially if one if sticking worse than the other.

Now the next step is preparing to sew. We’re meeting our murderer on the podcast now. Apparently his mom and dad were too closely related, so he was adopted by his aunt and uncle…..cliche? #ThanksMomAndDadForNOTMovingToAlabama #CaliforniaForever

I have 2 ways I pin. Zero pins or a million pins. I don’t know why, but that’s how I roll. Tricot is an a million and a half pin game. It’s slippery and the ends roll like a Stone. This pattern also has a gather at the base of the yoke, so a pin my gathers like they are gonna


run away. This is not required. This is straight up a crazy Alyssa thing. I often use clips for piecing, but for gathers like this, I get pin crazy.

The lace also has a gathering stitch. I use a textbook straight stitch opened up as wide as my machine goes. No extra special tip there. It works! Why reinvent the wheel?

Now for piecing the straps together at the shoulders – This is a stress point. I double stitch that seam. I prefer to double stitch stress points, especially in a knit!!!!!!!! These are places that stitches pop, fabric tears, and embarrassment happens. This is shoulder straps, crotch gussets, etc. 20180729_22482820180729_224734

When I piece together the body pieces, I use just one stitch. I used the pink thread. I felt that it was unnecessary to use a white bobbin. You can barely see the thread.

I of course, pin like it is going out of style.

BTW – I have just learned from Small Town Murder that crack makes a drunk person less drunk. At least I think that’s what I just learned…. less drunk seeming….but annoying as hell….Yeh….nope. Always a nope for crack. And Meth.

Moving on.

Bands. Bands seem WAY scarier than they are. B20180730_221827Basically it works like this. Quarter, pin, quarter, stretch, sew. Just take your time. See I took my time, then realized my waist band was inside out. Was I going to unpick? Nope – design choice!!!!

This is something I learned from what I refer to as “the goddess of the needle”. If you read my Phee Swim blog, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

If not – I worked in professional theatre for, like, half of forever. I worked with some AMAZING seamstresses and learned some amazing things. Sometimes those were conventional, handy sewing things. Sometimes they were spectacular life things. For example – things don’t go your way, its not a fuck up, it’s a design choice!! Both in life and sewing! So this is a design choice. Also – if you ever trip while walking in pretty much any setting, blame it on the choreography  Call it a dance break. Life is better with some theatre in it!!  So just as the really gnarly murdery stuff was happening, I was finishing up with making the bands. I started stitching them on and all the crazy legal stuff went down. I won’t spoil it for you

My bands are not perfect. I admit it. They should have been a smidgeon shorter. But this shirt is bomb. This pattern is truly the best for this fabric. The drape and the stretch are amazing. Now for some super dorky finished project pictures. Pardon the hair – I was at the nursing home/rehab facility with my dad most of the day, and I have to fend off the old dudes (I’m kidding, obviously the old guys prefer blondes. It’s the toddlers that like redheads!)

Horrible face photo, But AWESOME example of the fabric combo!


I hope you enjoyed my ramblings! If you have any questions about this blog or other ramblings, drop me a line at thirteenstardesigns@gmail.com

Bodysuits and Suede….They’re back!!

Posted by Whitney “TEAMMASH” Decker

Petite Stitchery & Co Pattern Release

Juliet Bodysuit and Circle Skirt

I had the pleasure of testing the new Juliet bodysuit and circle skirt for PSCO the last couple of weeks. The bodysuit has so many options and both that and the circle skirt are flattering on everyone! They’re both still on sale through March 12 at Midnight.

Skill Level:


Sizes Included:

XS – 3X

Pattern Features:

PDF Download Instantly and Layered Sizes


Bodysuit:Three height options petite, regular and tall
Two booty coverage cuts full and cheeky

Two front necklines crew and low cut
Two back necklines high and low

Five different sleeve lengths and a flutter sleeve

Two leg closures elastic or bands
Snap crotch option
Circle Skirt: Mini and midi length lines

Fabric Requirement:

A knit with at least 50% four way stretch

I made the circle skirt with the red faux suede, which is also stocked in black. Although it doesn’t have 50% stretch each direction it has just enough stretch for the waistband. The skirt features a fold over waistband, which I halved the height of!

I used a few different fabrics for the bodysuit but one of my favorites was supplex lined with techsheen HOLY SUPPORT and then I did a lace overlay. It has so much support I don’t need to wear a bra and it’s like wearing spanx AND I think I could eat a whole cake and no one would know haha.

I also made the bodysuit REVERSIBLE so I only have to bring one shirt on a long weekend. Winning! Haha. I just sewed it as the directions say but used another fabric as the lining. When you’re wearing it one of the ways the leg band seams will be exposed but I’m not walking around wearing just a bodysuit so I didn’t care!


This bodysuit would be peeerfect in circular knit especially for summer since it’s MOISTURE wicking. It’s nice because you can dress it up with the lace, wear it with jeans or any skirt, or even shorts. It is so versatile and would be perfect in so many of the Phee Fabrics. You could even make it in circular knit or nylon spandex lined with swim lining for a bathing suit!

For those of you with daughters there is also a girl’s pattern that is also on sale! I haven’t had a chance to make it yet but I’m sure the drafting is just as superb as it is in the women’s.