Ready to Wear: Something More

I am generally a very simple dresser. Jeans or yoga pants, and a tee shirt are my uniform when I am not at work. This project made me revisit a staple that most of us have in our closets: a plain black tee shirt.

I used a pinsperation that I knew I could wear. It was cute and I loved the detail.

I used a shirt that I liked the fit of (an inexpensive V-neck tee shirt). And I used stretch lace that I KNEW was high quality ( ).

Just prior to this project I had knee surgery. I was crutch bound and knew it was going to be difficult if I needed to try this on a million times and crutch to the mirror to check the fit.

To mitigate these issues, I decided that this would be a draping project as opposed to a flat pattern drafting project. This means I used a dress form and scissors and pins. There is a learning curve to draping, but it can be a lot of fun and gives you a lot of freedom if your sewing for someone who isn’t around and if you are sewing with finiky fabric.

Draping is also handy when sewing adaptations to ready to wear items or already constructed pieces.

This is Grace, my dress form. She lost her base in a move a few years back. This was the next best thing. As Grace is made of plastic, she has a basic knit sheath on so I have something to pin to.

I measured meticulously, marked with chalk, pinned the shirt in place, then cut off the shoulders and upper sleeves.

Initially, the lace created a shawl type collar. This was not really my jam, so I pinned the lace in place, maintaining the galloon lace edge, and trimmed the lace to resemble a conventional tee shirt collar line. I attached the lace with a basic stretch stitch (a zip zag in my case). I used fold over elastic, unfolded, as a neckline trim. I did a simple fold over hem for the sleeves.

In the photo, there is a little bit of pulling at the upper bust. Grace has a more endowed chest than I do, so I tightened the material a bit on the chest, knowing it would suit me when I put it on.

The project worked so well due to the quality of the lace. It was stable, did not warp, and was basically gorgeous and awesome.

The modified tee is comfy and cute. I will probably be doing a similar modification with several other Phee Fabrics stretch lace colors, because LACE!!!!

Blue hair, cute shirt, and crutches. Happy summer!

Are you a pinspiration creator??? Phee Fabrics is having a contest this August for all you pinspirers! Check it out! Phee Pinspiration Challenge

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.




Pattern Hack: Lace Panty Waist Band

Hey, Hey! Today I wanted to share with you all a quick hack for switching out the elastic finishing on top of a panty pattern for a more flattering and smoothing wide lace waistband using the stretch lace trim from Phee! When my two new panty sewing patterns released last week (check them out on Etsy if you haven’t seen them yet!) one of the biggest requests I had was for an option for a wide lace waistband and I am more than happy to oblige! This is a super easy “hack” if you can even call it that and can be used on any panty pattern.

Here is what you will need:

  • A pair of in progress panties completed up until the finishing o the waist opening
  • A piece of 2″-3″ wide stretch lace trim, at least the length of your hip measurement
  • Thread that will coordinate with the lace trim

Begin by measuring the waist opening of your panty. You will then need to cut your lace trim measurement to that length minus two inches.

Place the short ends of your lace on top of each other right sides together. Run a row of stitching down the short end of the lace using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Press the seam open. Top stitch 1/4 of an inch down either side of the seam. Trim the excess lace down to the top stitching.

Quarter both your panty opening and lace waistband using pins to mark the quarter points. Use the seam in the waist band is one quarter point for the waist band. Use the side seams in your pant as two of the quarter points for the panty.

Slip the waistband piece, right sides out, on the panty piece. The wrong side of the waistband should be to thing the right side of the panty. How far down the waist band should be on the panty is a combination of your personal preference and how wide your lace is. I used two and a half inch wide lace and overlapped the waist band 3/4 of an inch. Pin the waist band in place generously all around the opening.

Using a small zig-zag stitch sew the waist band to panty as close to the bottom edge of the lace as you can.  Sew another line of zig zag stitches one half to three quarters of an inch up from the first line of stitching. Trim down any excess panty on the inside to the second line of stitching.

Press well and you are done!