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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Materials Used

Fabrics/Laces:

Notions:

Tips

  • 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.

Lille is Breezy with a Wild and Phee Hack

Late February holds a special place in my heart. With it being the coldest month of the year, I am in my happy place. I have had a nice couple months hibernating throughout the fall and winter sewing away. At this point in the seasons my sewing projects take a turn from warm and cozy to starting to think about summer and the heat that will soon be upon me. It usually takes me a couple weeks to formulate my plan, but Melissa kick started my plan by creating the best combination of fabrics in a mystery box I have ever purchased. Two of the fabric cuts immediately caught my eye: a light gray Waffle Mesh and a purple Waffle Mesh. I had never felt the fabric before, but it was light, soft, and very breathable. It didn’t have support like PowerNet or Techsheen. Very similar to many sport jersey materials. In short, it was PERFECT for my first summer sew!

The inspiration mystery box with the featured Waffle Mesh in Gray and Purple, Tangerine Tricot, Hot Pink Wide Mesh, Plum Supplex, and Gray Polartec PowerStretch (lower left).
The pinspiration that has been lurking on my pinterest for years.

Late last year I tried out a couple of different tank tops, I hadn’t found the one that I would return to. A new re-release caught my eye when Lille from GreenStyle Creations was updated recently. Not to mention it would be perfect for a the coral and navy PowerNet that Phee just got in.

To create this hack I started out with the standard tank top pattern piece cut out. The modification would only take place on the back piece.

With the back piece of the pattern cut out, measure between the center of the neck hole to where you want the bottom of your PowerNet to be. Here I chosen 12″ as my radius.

 

Use the ruler and mark 12″ marks every couple of inches or so.
Once there are enough dots to connect, draw a line curving to meet all of them. This will be the cut line.
Cut along your cut line.
Next is to add seam allowances to both pieces. I start by marking a datum 1/4″ from the right hand side of the paper I am using to add my seam allowance. This will be what I align my fold to.
Next, align your fold with the datum you just markers and mark two alignment ‘notches’ that go between each side of the pattern piece and the backing paper.
While still aligned, mark around the full piece with with your pen.
This this point you should have the full curve of the piece traced and alignment marks on both pieces of paper.
With your ruler, measure up your seam allowance from the alignment mark (3/8″ is shown here).
Align your pattern alignment marks to the new seam allowance alignment mark. The previously traced line will be your new cut line.
Cut out your new pattern piece.
Check the seam allowance. Don’t forget to add the seam allowance to the bottom portion also!

Next continue and add the same seam allowance on the bottom portion of the back piece. You should now have two back pieces, an upper and a lower, with seam allowances added to both. Cut both pieces on the fold.

Next is to align the pieces and sew together to make the full back.
I like to start in the middle, with right sides together, and work outward to ensure the straps are exactly centered.
Pins are your friend here. Align your pieces and pin all the way out to the edge. There will be a ‘dog ear’ of the bottom back left over at the edge.
Continue onto the other edge. At this point you are ready to sew. I used my serger, but ensure you use a stretch stitch so that you have the most mobility while working out (or lounging because this will be great for those 110 degree days laying on the couch).
To keep the seam down and out of the view of the net, top stitch the seam down onto the bottom back piece. Use a stretch stitch here also.
I used a 3-needle coverstitch here. Once top stitched, trim any threads and seam outside of the original pattern piece off.
From here follow Greenstyle’s instructions to finish the tank top. This is a great pattern to really practice your binding skills on!

This Waffle Mesh and PowerNet are the perfect amount of breezy and modesty for me. The colors are so beautiful in person and can I just say I hope every fabric is offered in coral this year! The Waffle Mesh was fabulous to use as binding (this coming from a binding disliker myself). I would definitely recommend Circular Knit for this tank and hack. I have my next one planned out with white Circular Knit and some Camo Powernet that will jump into my cart before my next checkout. Thank you guys for stopping by and please show us your version of the hack!

-S

 

Wiggle and Essential Tank Hack

Down here in Sunny Florida our month long Winter just ended and it was brutal, I am talking 50’s haha! Now that it is warm I have swim on the brain! So when I found out Wide Mesh was the promo this month I was so excited because I finally had the excuse to make myself a new coverup with the amazing, wide mesh I had been hoarding since September!

I have been dying to make the Wiggle Dress from Patterns for Pirates into a coverup. I did not necessarily want it so form fitting and thought it would mesh nicely with the Essential tank.

I am so happy with the results that I think I am going to make one from Rayon Spandex to wear everyday. Especially after all the new color options that Phee just listed. I only purchase my Rayon Spandex from Phee Fabrics because it is so high quality and it does not pill. Yes, that is what I said, it does not pill! It is seriously the best!

Not only was I extremely happy with the pattern but I loved the wide mesh so much I had to make another coverup and decided on a pair of Brassie Joggers. I was not disappointed with these either!

Materials: All from Phee Fabrics

Wiggle/ Essential Tank Hack

I already had both the Wiggle and Essential Tank patterns cut in my size, so after laying the pattern pieces on top of one another, I began by tracing the wiggle dress on the top portion and graded at the skirt to blend into the essential tank. I wanted the dress to be less form fitting through the waist and hips and more fitted on the top portion.

The front piece was much easier and straight forward because both fronts are cut on the fold. The back however was more difficult due to the fact that the back of the Wiggle is 2 mirror cut pieces and the Essential Tank is again cut on a fold. I wanted both my new pieces to be cut on a fold.

For this I concentrated on lining up 3 points: the grainlines, the centerback and the armpit. Once these 3 points were matched up I traced the cut on fold line and graded the skirts to blend together gradually becoming more fitted the higher up the waist.

After I had my two pattern pieces, it was sewn according to the original Wiggle pattern directions, except I used binding instead of elastic. I also used binding to finish off the sleeves to give it a more finished look. The skirt was left raw. As Monica explains in her blog the other day the binding can seem intimidating but the trick is to take your time and pin!

*If I was using this hack with any other fabric besides the wide mesh I would not have used binding and used the elastic and hemmed my sleeves and skirt.

Review of Heiress Bikini

This was my first time sewing the Heiress Bikini from SwimStyle and it is honestly one of the best swim patterns I have used. The techniques used leave you with the most professionally finished pieces and the fit just feels amazing! It is not a beginner pattern but has great instructions that easily guide you along.

I wanted to make this with the adjustable straps and used the new metal ring and slider set Phee is carrying. I was beyond blown away with the quality of this hardware and it was honestly the part people pointed out when they were shocked I made my own swimsuit. I highly recommend it!

I also used Powernet as the liner in my top because who can’t use a little extra support? If you don’t have this stuff on hand I also highly recommend it because you never know when it will come in handy!

Review of the Brassie Jogger as a Coverup

I am in a long term love affair with the Brassie Joggers from Greenstyle, because who isn’t! I decided to use the wide mesh and make a coverup version. This was one of those projects that turned out way better than I had originally envisioned. I receive compliments on them every time I wear them and even sold a pair the last time I wore them!

Thanks for taking a peek at my projects!

How I Developed a Pattern…

(Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.)

We are wrapping up February 2019, and I’ve already had a not so stellar year! I broke the radius bone in my right arm on January 11th. I am now 6 weeks post surgery, and everything is healing as expected!

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But, I did have to forgo sewing during the initial weeks after surgery. During that time, I worked on expressing another creative side: pattern making!

I am so happy to debut a pattern drafted specially for Phee! You see, I have a love affair with the activewear and swimwear fabrics from Phee. And love is not a one way street, right? I couldn’t expect Melissa to keep supplying the good stuff without giving back some lovin’!

It all started out with an idea inspired by the new stretch mesh and some RTW sexy thangs on Pinterest. And while I was in my unintentional sewing fast, 100% of my initial pattern tests were done in paper.

Finally at 4 weeks post op, I was given the OK to sew! And I dug right into my new mesh and the most luscious plum supplex.

Scroll through the photo gallery to see the pattern making process of this special Phee pattern:

The Future of this Pattern

The pattern will still require some tweaks before the official release, and it needs a name! I have a running list of great suggestions so if you’ve got a name for this pattern, PLEASE SHARE it in the comments below!

This pattern will come with a few variations that play with either the mesh overlay or the bandeau. Additionally, I’ve graded it to multiple cup and band sizes! What I’m wearing in the pictures is a 34A (team Sport Edition Boobs right here!)

Fabric Choice and Notions

You can get almost everything you see in my sample piece from Phee!

Things that were from my own stash were 1″ black fold over elastic and swim cups/inserts.

One of the pattern variations will show you how to use Phee’s poly laminate foam to create a padded bandeau.

Helpful Hints…sort of ;P

This was the very first time that I have worked with a stretch mesh fabric. And while it does produce such an amazing effect on your clothing, I was really dumbfounded on how to sew it lol!

When it came to binding my edges with fold over elastic, I laid the pattern piece as flat as possible, and pinned down every little bit to my FOE while carefully following the curvature of the pattern piece. Then sewed very slowly, making sure to capture each little bit with my stitches.

This was probably the most difficult part, but it’s not impossible! It just takes patience.

Bye, for now!

My return to sewing after my injury was the highlight of my dreary winter. I’m so excited to put the finishing touches on this pattern and then release it to all you Phee-natics!

And remember: If you’ve got a badass name suggestion for this pattern, reply in the comments below! The winning namer will receive this pattern for free 🙂

Much love,

Monica

Dreams Deferred…

When I was 11 I begged my mom for a fit and flare dress like all the girls on tv… all pretty girls. I never thought I was one of those. I was a quiet nerdy girl who didn’t quite fit in… She tried and tried to make me that dress but couldn’t get it to fit my size 10 top, 8 waist, and 14/16 hips. I needed to stick to things made for my shape… and so it began.

Yea this is 2 year old me, not a care in the world…

17 yr old me. By then I learned to hide behind my mask. But In my mind I still wasn’t good enough or thin enough so I decided to hide behind clothes the longer and baggier the better. It took me years and years (and many, many incidents I’ll save for later) to realize that hiding didn’t make me look better or feel better. It fueled my darkness. I finally learned that I deserve to be seen and I deserved to be happy. My girls also fueled my quest for confidence. Sewing allowed me to blossom. Enter the Patterns for Pirates Sweetheart dress… My dream dress! 12 year old me did a little Paula Abdul dance lol! But would it fit??? Well here’s the difference… First knit fabric! This beautiful cherry rayon spandex and black power mesh from Phee Fabrics would do the trick!

Next grading… when I started sewing I used the big three patterns… you know the standard kind. I just could not get them. They were to complicated to me an so hard to fit. But indie patterns gave me just enough umph to give it a go! For this pattern I cut a 1x through the shoulders and 2x bust and waist. The circle skirt is extremely forgiving so I cut the 2x waist as well. The result is a great fitting, fun dress that makes me feel amazing!

The fabric feels wonderful and the quality is top notch. Now if you’ll excuse me I have a hot date with this guy…

Happy Sewing!

#patternsforpirates

#PheeFabrics

#plussizesewing

#curvygirlsrock

Feeling a Little Meh(sh)

What inspires you to workout? I wish I could say “I just love it” and don’t need any extra motivation, but alas, that would be one big lie. When it comes to fitness and activity, I know there is an ebb and flow for me….Sometimes my motivation and determination are at a peak and unwavering. Other times I have a laundry list of reasons why “I just can’t” because in reality I just don’t want to.

Like many people, January is a time to renew and I am ready to go – organization, workouts, food prep…It’s all easy, and I’m excited! Then February rolls around, and the honeymoon is over. At that point, all I want is ice cream and sweat pants, but I have one thing that always gets me back in the groove – NEW CLOTHES! This used to mean a trip to the store, but now it means a Facebook search in my favorite fabric and sewing groups for some inspiration.

I decided I wanted some “cool mesh” pants like all the women in my gym classes. Of course my favorite shop, Phee Fabrics had just what I wanted! The black powernet has great stretch and recovery for workout wear without being completely see through. So, off I went pattern hunting and decided to try another Greenstyle Creations pattern, the Inspire tights. They are a basic legging but also have some fun color blocking options. I used a contour waistband from the Patterns for Pirates peg legs to give me a higher waisted option.

The powernet was great for the inserts and there is some hidden powernet in the waistband – it’s like comfortable compression! This stuff HOLDS you in! No rolling waistband or slipping down. I didn’t even need to add elastic to the top, which is perfect for me. I really don’t like the feel of elastic on my waist regardless of fabric and pattern.

Quick tip for color-block sewing that saves me a bunch of time pinning – I get all of my pieces for each leg panel and pin them all at one time. Then I can stitched all at once and if I shave them all pinned together at the them same time it’s easier to see if I have them all in the correct direction (read: less seam ripping!)

I really want for my leggings to be supportive and stretch. The Plum Supplex is gorgeous in person while having incredible stretch and recovery. This material is perfect for squats and stretching (and tested for the entire day after a workout because sometimes I just get busy 😉)

So now I had “motivating pants”, but I needed a whole outfit. This time I wanted to copy a tank I bought years ago. It has a strap across the back that how’s off your back and a front and back scoop neck. I used the P4P essential tank, but instead of using the back piece, I did 2 fronts! I used 85% of the neck and arm openings to create the bands. Then I created a strap for the back and stitched it into the band. Super easy, and it holds the straps up.

The back piece has a little added flair and function. It’s made out of powernet too. Awesome for a hot day or extra sweaty workout.

My motivating outfit worked – I used it as my extra push to get up and workout at 5:45am when but was a balmy 11 degrees! I guess I will need to make another outfit to keep the momentum going…and you know it will be with Phee Fabrics.

Happy stitchin’ and sweatin’

Liz