Saturday, March 31, 2012

Food For Thought

I usually try to stay out of the controversial stuff. Not that I’m not opinionated! But my dear departed mummy always tried to teach me to be a little more diplomatic than my nature usually suggests. Sometimes though I just can’t help myself. The area of copyright as it affects the arts and crafts is one that has particularly strong opinions on all sides. I just read an exceptional post by Leah Day, a fabulous quilter, teacher and all-around decent and generous person, on this topic and want to share it. Go here. Discuss. And for the record, I agree with Leah.

Not much else has been happening in Damselfly’s pond. Still coughing though feeling much better otherwise. Still knitting on both Ten-Stitch Blankets alternately. Still contemplating – and not doing anything – to the Asymmetrical Collar Fleece Jacket pattern. Still reading way more than I should be. Because while I’m reading, hey! I’m not getting much else done! But I’m chalking it up to healing from the Zombie Plague. Yeah, that’s my excuse and I’m stickin’ to it.

Meanwhile, I’m off shortly with a fellow weavers’ guild member to look at a Lendrum spinning wheel that’s been in storage after its original owner passed away some 10 years ago. Her husband wants to clear out his storage and we’re thinking of purchasing the wheel for the guild’s rental collection. It isn’t what I was hoping for unfortunately because I really wanted a double-treadle and it’s apparently a single. Not that I care particularly myself but it seems that newer spinners prefer the double for whatever reason. But that’s another controversy that I’d rather not pursue! Anyhow at least it folds which was more than our old wheels did. Much more conducive to travelling about. If it doesn’t work out we can always sell it and continue to hunt for something better. More anon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Meet Miss Piggy

I finally got around to making this yesterday:

Tailor’s Ham


Date:  March 28, 2012

Pattern:  PDF here; tutorial here; by Chance of Rain (aka Sai in Madrid).

TailorsHam2 Fabrics:  scrap of vintage cotton sheet, dyed in Procion MX; scrap of handwoven wool fabric; scraps of lightweight unbleached muslin.

Notions:  sewing thread; sawdust (cherry wood) from T-Man’s wood studio.

Comments:  I couldn’t find any suitable wool plaid in deep stash so I pulled out a piece of fabric that I wove sometime in the 1990’s in shadow weave, hence the cool effect. I also found a large enough piece left over from the vintage sheets that I dyed for the Rag Quilt. They actually coordinate better than the photos might suggest! I only used one layer of muslin under each of the outer fabrics thinking that would be enough to keep the sawdust from leaking out.

TailorsHam3 Putting in the sawdust took much longer than cutting and sewing the pieces for the ham. I was a little disappointed that the cotton side has some wrinkles at the seam despite my best packing and pounding and repacking efforts. It takes an amazing amount to fill even a small ham like this one and I got sawdust and shavings stuck everywhere. Luckily I was smart enough to work on it in T’s studio which of course already has sawdust everywhere and the shop vacuum right there.

I’ve been meaning to make one of these for quite awhile, actually years! This is the small 9” x 6” one from Sai’s pattern and it’s pretty little. If I get around to it I might like to make a larger version too, though not perhaps as large as her large one, maybe 9” x 12”? I’ll use this one first for awhile and then see if I think a larger one would be useful as well.

This is a just a quick post because I’m off to finally get my hair cut. Yippee! It’s been driving me batty because it needed cutting about 2 weeks ago but I haven’t been feeling up to trotting on down to my hairdresser’s. Today I’m going rain or shine – or both since it keeps alternating out there. Regardless, I’ll wear my Minoru Jacket and bring my umbrella.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sewing Frustration

Well, I didn’t manage to get anything done that I’d planned yesterday. I did find a great tutorial from Chance of Rain (aka Sai in Madrid) for the tailor’s ham I wanted to make - complete with downloadable PDF pattern. But I didn’t even dig out the fabrics for this yet. I know. Today is another day, right?

Instead I got hung up on this pattern:


I’ve had this one for several years (M5714, currently OOP) along with 2 metres of well-aged black polar fleece and I wanted to make the jacket with the funky collar, View E (the orange one) but with longer sleeves. Quick while it’s still cool enough to wear it before summer sets in. Unfortunately this pattern is drafted with a “young modern” fit which is very close to the body and even the largest size 18 doesn’t have enough ease for me. Except of course in the shoulders which are, as usual, too big. And the empire line is too high in front because hey, it’s drafted for several bust sizes smaller than I am. I would have to completely adjust the darn thing everywhere to make it fit. I’ve had it with that. It’s easier to start from scratch with my fitting blocks. Seriously. Remind me again why I even buy patterns any more? Oh yeah. I don’t. I’m on a pattern-buying moratorium. I solemnly vow to make my own from now on. You, dear readers, are my witnesses.

So while I quite like the asymmetrical collar, I think it would be a bear to sew in thick polar fleece. Two layers of fleece plus interfacing? Then attaching that to the neckline for yet another layer? Even my workhorse Pfaffy would have trouble biting into that. So I’m kind of rethinking the design to simplify and eliminate layers of facings. Fleece doesn’t ravel. Who needs edge finishes? Go deconstructed! That worked just fine for my Shawl Collar Vest, which FYI I’m currently wearing. (It’s toasty warm too.) So now it’s back to the drawing board with this one. Literally.

Nothing else exciting to report. I didn’t get around to any planting either in the garden or in the grow-op yesterday. The day just zipped by while I was pondering the above sewing problem. In Knitting News I’m still slowly plugging away on my two Ten-Stitch Blankets. It’s not fast but it’s mindless which is very relaxing. However I spend nearly as much time winding new balls of sock scraps as I do knitting on them.

Also I’ve been feeling marginally better and at least have stopped taking cough medicine before going to bed. I still cough a little but I was doing that anyway so there’s no point dosing myself up with unnecessary non-functional potions. I’m well into week 3 of the Zombie Plague and I have one week to go to get rid of this thing before a major dental appointment. Otherwise it’s going to be very uncomfortable all around. I wonder if the dentist has a magical temporary cough-fixer numbing spray or something? He must run into this problem fairly often, one would think.

Monday, March 26, 2012

More Sewing FO’s

I finished another sewing project on Friday that made me very happy. I’ll have to try to get a better photo because this one is not showing it off to advantage at all!

Bubble Twist Skirt


For: me (Why do I bother stating this? Everything recently has been for ME!)

Date: March 2012

Pattern: Self-drafted, inspired by a pattern in BurdaStyle, 7/2010-108. BurdaStyle07_2010_108 BS07_2010_108 line

Fabrics: Crepe weave, polyester (?), dark brown, 44” W x 60” L remnant; Italian satin weave, 80% viscose/20% trilobal, black with silver sparklies, 58” W x 2 m remnant. Total cost: ~$7 (with lots of satin left over).BubbleTwist fabrics

Notions: 3/4” waistband elastic (35” long), sewing threads (black and brown), serger thread (brown). 2.0mm twin needle.

Comments: When I saw these fabrics in the remnant bin at Dressew I immediately saw this skirt in my mind’s eye. The pattern in BurdaStyle was short, used a jersey knit for the outer fabric and had a waistband and zipper. I wanted it longer, below the knee, and with an elastic waistband instead. So I used the pattern for my Sweat Skirt and used it to draft my own version. The inner lining is just a straight skirt so I merely lengthened the original skirt pattern. The outer skirt is both 5” longer and wider at the hem which was easy to adjust the line outward from the waist. I had lots of the sparkly black satin and cut the lining from one width’s worth but the brown crepe was quite narrow and I had just enough to cut the 2 identical front and back pieces.

TwistedBubbleSkirt_det Both fabrics are really ravelly so I sewed the side seams with a French seam to completely enclose them. The outer hem is gathered and then stitched to the inner one with a 1/4 skew (seams to centres) and I serged it for security. I basted the waistbands together at the top, this time matching the seams normally, and serged the waistband elastic on. The elastic was left flat for the front 10” and stretched for the rest of the seam. Then I turned the elastic under and twin-needle topstitched it into place. The photo shows a peek at the spot where the two hems meet. You can even see how sparkly the lining is!

I totally adore this skirt! It fits well and sits about an inch below my waist (such as it is) so it doesn’t ride up. It’s long enough to be comfortable but not so long that it gets in the way. The bubble twist is interesting and easy to wear and the colour goes with a lot of pieces in my wardrobe.

So, fresh with my skirt success I decided to go back to my plan from last year to make an undergarment that would serve as a Chub Rub Protector to wear under skirts when I’m not wearing tights, especially in warm weather. I came up with these. Yes, I’m flashing my underwear again!



Date:  March 2012

Pattern:  self-drafted using my Panties pattern as a base.

Fabric:  soft lightweight knit, warm white, 100% unknown fibres (possibly some cotton or rayon content) from the bargain room at Dressew.

Notions:  3/8” beige lingerie elastic – 2 kinds, sewing thread and serger thread (white).

Comments:  The pattern is very simple, just a rectangle for front and back that is split up the leg in order to insert a double gusset strip. I think the next time I might try the “burrito” method of inserting the gusset similar to the way panties are made. That would keep the stitching inside the two gusset layers removing yet another thing that might chafe. I didn’t think of that this time though so we’ll see how well these wear. I have lots of fabric so I can easily try again except that I need yet more elastics. I seem to be going through those mighty quickly! I like the lingerie elastic with the soft fuzzy side against the skin so I’ll have to get more. Lots more! It’s only 25 cents a metre so it’s certainly not going to break the bank. I don’t really like the type of elastic that I used for the leg openings. It’s not very soft at all.

These fit quite well although the bottom of the leg does “bloom” a little more than I expected. I would have to taper the side seams to remove that excess fabric but first I’ll wear and test these on a few long walks to see how they do before making another pair. Yes, I know they are boring white. Since I have no idea what the fibre content is I never thought to dye them first. I could throw them in a dyebath sometime to test them out if I want to. But the thread at least will definitely not take the dye (since I didn’t use cotton) so I would have to live with whatever comes out of the dyepot.

All in all, there seems to be a pretty good fit and kind of an old-fashioned feel to these undies.

Next I plan to finally make the tailor’s ham that I’ve had in mind for awhile. T-Man saved me some nice sawdust from his studio so I just need to dig the fabrics out of the deep stash. I’m sure I have a piece of wool plaid in there somewhere! I need a ham.

In other news, my teensy indoor garden is coming along. I have some work to do today because I need to plant more seeds and also to start transplanting some of the larger veggies so they can start spending their days out in the greenhouse. Most exciting of all, I have Japanese indigo from my very own seeds! That circle surrounds the very first one to come up:


I know, you can barely see it. How about these a couple of days later and a little larger?


Trust me – those little green dots are going to become this year’s blue dye. Today there are at least a dozen up now and they are growing taller! So exciting.

We’ve also been eating things from the garden. We had kale and mizuna buds in the stir-fry last night for dinner and there’s Egyptian walking onions and mache (aka corn salad or lamb’s lettuce) for the salad. I was trying to finally plant my peas yesterday but got sidetracked by a herd of grandbeasties so it didn’t happen. Today of course it’s raining. At least the nets are in. It’s getting rather late and they should be planted already if I want any before pea enation and powder mildew kill them. But I guess I can only do what I can only do, huh?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Is Sprung

In case you might be wondering if I totally succumbed to the Zombie Attack, I’m still here! With a voice too – not perfect exactly, but more-or-less functional. Still coughing but I think I’m finally on the upside of this thing. Maybe. I’m trying not to press my luck though. I mean, look what happened last time! I got confined to barracks for 4 more days and unable to talk much for half of them. I don’t want to attract another smackdown.

Meanwhile, I made this:

Wrist Pincushion


Date: March 20, 2012

For:  me

Pattern:  Offset Square Wrist Pincushion Tutorial by June Gilbank, available here.

Materials:  Scrap of parfait-dyed-by-me cotton quilting fabric, scrap of waistband elastic, Corriedale wool, small purple lampwork bead made by T-Man.

Comments:  I think one step needs to be added to the tutorial. If you snip into the seam allowance at the centre points of the sides, it’s much easier to get the corners neat. Mine were a PITA to sew and looked lumpy and wonky until I clipped the corners. Then they cooperated much better.

I made two other changes: elastic instead of twill tape and velcro for the strap. Unfortunately I forgot my recent lesson on “exercising” my elastic so it came out too loose! Necessitated a tuck to keep it from slipping around on my admittedly scrawny wrist. In other words, I might have been better off adding velcro. But I didn’t. The other change was to stuff the cushion with wool from my spinning stash. I find it a little firmer and nicer to poke pins into. It’s also supposed to be better for the pins than polyester fibrefill. Since I have a lot more wool than poly fibrefill in my stash anyway, that’s a no-brainer.

The bead is one that I found in my bead stash. When T was making lampwork beads he never made very many teeny ones(3/8” or less in diameter). This is one of the smallest of them all.

I think it’s really fun to slowly furnish my sewing space with items that make the work easier and more fun. I get a smile whenever I look at my Thread Catchers One and Too and my Teacup Pincushion. Now I feel like I need to rearrange the tool caddies by my cutting table. There’s a discussion of fabric marking tools coming – I can feel it! I have about 6 different things and always end up reverting to one choice. More anon.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Silence Is NOT Golden

The zombies didn’t stop after eating my brains. Now they’ve gone for my voice! I can barely squeak. And I have to admit that it may be all my own fault. I was feeling somewhat better (not to mention completely stir-crazy!) so I decided to go to my weavers’ guild meeting on Thursday evening. I had a ride. My library volunteer job was passed onto someone else after I already subbed for her earlier in the year. If I tried not to cough too much, what could it hurt? Actually nothing….except that I got the offer of a ride out to Abbotsford to our one and only annual Fibres West event yesterday. Originally I wasn’t going to go, preferring instead to attempt to get out to the Abbotsford Tradex to the sewing and crafts show that’s on next weekend instead. (I’m still hoping for that one.) But everyone (I’m looking at you, Donna!) said that it would be a fun schmoozefest – even if I didn’t need any yarn or spinning fibres, or anything else really. And Diana was going so I couldn’t help but tag along.

Big mistake. Don’t get me wrong, it was really fun! I had a blast chatting with all my friends old and new. I managed to avoid buying yarn or fibres. Now that was a feat of self-control. (Black alpaca…so soft! Pretty sparkly art batts! Sweet Georgia yarns. Yum.) I did succumb to one biiiggg book:

Memory On Cloth book

Memory On Cloth by Yoshiko Wada, 2002, on sale at Jane Stafford’s for 20% off its original $80. She’s getting out of the book biz like many other small business people who can’t compete with the big online bookstores (though I got it for cheaper than Amazon!). And I also got this big but very cute button:


I mean really, how could I resist? It jumped into my hand. An orange damselfly! Well, yes I know it could be a dragonfly but with the absence of anatomical detail to distinguish species we’ll just call it a damselfly, OK? Apparently there are orange damselflies but the colours are reversed: orange body, black wings. But who’s checking? It was handmade on Pender Island by this artist. Check out the hot motorcycle she bought with her buttons! Now I have to come up with something that can use a rather large single button to close it. I’m thinking cowl or cardigan?

Yes, I had a really good time, chatting and looking and touching and trying not to cough on anyone. However by the time we were leaving a mere 3 hours later, I was starting to sag. And croak. My voice pretty much left me by the time we got home and it’s been, shall we say, a leetle uncertain ever since. I also felt really hot in the night and started coughing up a storm for about an hour before we both could get back to sleep. Blech.

Now I’m back to taking it super-easy and trying not to talk any more than absolutely necessary. It’s so hard! But unless T-Man is in the room right next to me he can’t hear me anyhow. I can’t speak up. Hopefully there will be no emergencies where I might need him, maybe to fend off a zombie attack? Guess I could clap loudly to get his attention. Or phone him on his cellphone? No, that wouldn’t work. He wouldn’t be able to hear me then either. Hmmm…Milady Daughter had this very symptom when she was sick even though I actually haven’t seen her but got it instead from her brother who obviously could still talk. I guess it’s certainly going around. And around. It can now go away. We don’t need no stinkin’ zombies around here.

OK, I’m boring myself (don’t know about you) with this whine and whinge session. How about a Finished Object just to distract us all?

Shawl Collar Vest

ShawlCollarVest For:  me

Date:  March 2012

GrayFabric Fabric:  baby rib knit, 100% unknown fibres (as are most of the pieces in my stash!), medium gray, 58” wide x 2 metres (after pre-washing and drying).

Notions:  stay tape, Mettler polyester sewing thread (gray)

M6084Pattern:  McCall’s 6084, View A. Size S (yes, you read that right!)

Pattern Adjustments:  I measured and wisely decided to make a size S instead of going any larger. This would have been absolutely huge if I went with my so-called “size” going by the pattern envelope! As it is, it’s still quite flowing. I made both a sloped and forward shoulder adjustment without moving the neck point because it was a little too tricky to mess with. I cut out the armhole bindings on the cross-grain (Direction of Greatest Stretch) instead of bias. No point in biasing a knit!

ShawlCollarVest2Comments:  I liked the way this fabric doesn’t fray and fuzzes up at the selvedges and cut edges in the dryer. So I cut the front edge on the selvedge and didn’t hem the bottom edge. That saved quite a bit of sewing! I finished most seams by opening them and topstitching on both sides a presser-foot-width away from the seam and then trimming the seam allowance close to the stitches. I stabilized the neck edge with stay tape before finishing that seam. The fabric was pretty thick for more than a couple of layers so trimming and not turning under the seam allowance really helped to keep it smooth. I did the armhole edge by sewing the doubled band as if it was t-shirt ribbing instead of turning it under. I also shortened it somewhat as I sewed it into a circle and then stretched it to fit as I sewed the seam. (I think would have been better as a single layer if I was to do it the way the pattern wanted me to as a narrow binding.) I trimmed the multiple seam allowances and topstitched the armhole edge through all the layers and now it lies fairly flat and doesn’t curl or flop around and the armhole isn’t too loose but just right.

I like this vest! It’s warm and cosy and you can style the collar several ways. It goes with quite a few things in my wardrobe too. I’m glad I didn’t put sleeves on it, not that I had the fabric available. I think it’s more versatile as a vest. Now it needs to go through the laundry to full up the edges to be completely finished.

You will notice that my photographer chopped off my head. He said I looked “dreamy” but not in a good way – more like rather ill! Sigh. It’s not like I can pull off good poses like some bloggers I know. Nor do either of us have very good photography skills where people are involved. Give me a mountain, lake, trees, rocks, bark, leaves, beach, desert etc. etc. But leave out the humans, please. They always come out oddly somehow.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wild Weather

It’s been super-windy here. Luckily we didn’t lose power but lots of folks did. There are trees down in several places including a few more in beautiful Stanley Park. I kept hearing thumps and bumps on the house but apart from small branches from my neighbour’s fir trees across the street everything seems to be fine. It was a wild near-hurricane strength ride while it was happening!

Meanwhile inside Zombie Plague Mansion, I’ve been continuing to take it relatively easy. T-Man did a yeoman job of taking care of things for his extended weekend (he had Friday off) but back to work today meant that I was on my own. Happily I felt a wee bit more energised so I was able to keep myself in tea and food but still didn’t try to do much more than that. You know when you have a fantasy of having lots of time just to laze around and knit and read all day? I’m here to tell you it gets old really fast! I demand to know where my energy went. I want it back. Now. I never thought this could happen, but I’m getting bored!

In crafty news, I started another Ten Stitch Blanket even though I’m not finished the first one yet. T-Man liked the look of mine and decided that he could use one too. It’s not like I don’t have more sock yarn scraps! As a matter of fact, a lot of the darker ones (many of which went into his own socks) are still unused. Here’s the beginning bit:


Somehow that came out a little lighter than reality. I’m still learning my new camera. I needed a more portable project than my first blanket is now. It’s a little brighter as well. Here’s what it looks like so far:


It’s nearly a yard square so it’s hard to get it all in the photo! I want to do about 4 or 5 more rounds at least to make it a good-sized lap blanket. It’s surprisingly easy to do even though you have to turn the work every 10 stitches. This one is big enough to lay over my knees and I only need to turn just the little section I’m knitting on. Stashbuster, lap-warmer and knitting project all in one!

Sorry. Nothing else exciting to talk about today.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Zombie Plague

And I was doing so well too. I’ve been magically avoiding any illness all winter and congratulating myself on remembering to wash my hands if I’ve been out and about. Phooey. I’ve become plague-ridden this morning and I think it was all my son The Ninja’s fault. He was obviously not as over his bug when he gave me a kiss on Monday. Darn zombies.

I was coughing a little when I went to bed last night and this morning it was accompanied by a sore throat. Hopefully it won’t add get much worse and will go away quickly. Sadly I have to miss my Spectrum Study Group today. I’m not risking sharing the Zombie Plague with anyone else. Back to my regularly scheduled hermit status. Sigh.

The upside of course is that I have an excuse to laze around all day in bed in my cuddly robe and hand-knit kneesocks knitting and reading with a cup of tea to hand. Not quite what I had in mind but sometimes there is no arguing with The Universe. Or zombies.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Goldilocks Syndrome

‘It is not an emotional struggle between woman and pattern.’


Ummm….maybe it’s not supposed to be a struggle but I’m getting a little annoyed with my bra making experiences. I’m having a Goldilocks Moment – too big, too small, straps stay up, straps fall down – but I can’t quite get to the sweet spot where everything is Just Right. Possibly the thing is hampered by using different fabrics. I was so sure that bra #3 was going to be perfect, but the fabric is lighter and softer and consequently it’s a little loose in the cups so wrinkles form over that darn cup seam. Sigh. The straps mostly stay up pretty well though. Ya wins some and ya loses some. Bra #2 (from the beefier tricot kit fabrics) fits pretty well in the cups but the straps slide down a little more. It’s a delicate dance between baggy wrinkles and too tight where the bridge starts to pull away from my chest and not lie flat. So delicate a dance that I just don’t seem to be able to get it quite right!

The finished eggshell bra (#3 if you’re keeping track) is quite pretty anyway:


Here’s a close-up of the interesting sport mesh fabric:


Now I’m feeling a huge need to go sew something else for awhile! Though I’m afraid to lose the skills I’ve gained in sewing elastics so I should really do the two kit bras before I lose momentum entirely. I’m just kind of tired of fussing with this for weeks on end and want something simple and clean to “cleanse my palate”. There are lots of options in the queue!

Another FO to show is this one:


Well two if you count the skirt which I finished ages ago:


They are of course for Grandbeastie #1, Super-Princess and her Barbies. I hope the plethora of Barbies that she owns don’t fight over who gets to wear the outfit! They’ll just have to share. The pattern is #65 from a very comprehensive Barbie knitting site from Sweden (patterns in 6 languages!) and the yarns are sock leftovers knit with 3mm needles. I changed the skirt pattern to knit it in the round but played the jacket straight – although it came out a little wonky because I don’t think I was as careful at measuring as I should have been. I was in a hurry to finish, naughty granny. I used clear snaps on the front which were a bear to sew in because the female side only worked one way but that way was NOT obvious. I ripped all my careful stitching out several times before I got them all in correctly. Then I stitched beads on the front to look like small buttons. SP forgot to bring a Barbie to model so we settled for a flat photo. I think she liked her new doll outfit though. Hard to tell with that girl sometimes. Maybe next time I’ll make a Barbie dress. There’s lots to choose from.

Meanwhile spring has sprung and the daffodils are coming out. The garden is starting to call seriously and seeds need to be planted beginning very soon. Like now for some of my indoor starts. I always balk at washing all the pony flats though it should be done every year to avoid diseases that could kill my baby plants. It’s just a chore that’s too much like washing a gazillion really dirty dishes! And I should use a dab of bleach as well but I’m so sensitive to that stuff I avoid it as much as possible. I’d rather hope that good old dish detergent does a good enough job. However, instead of doing yard work, we unilaterally decided to go for a walk yesterday in the sunshine. Today is not quite so lovely so hopefully it will be more conducive to getting down and dirty.

At least for a few hours. I also still have to organise my stuff for the Spectrum Study Group meeting tomorrow. I was hoping to give my silk crepe square scarf an under-dye before stamping and painting it with thickened natural dyes but Someone Else has it and hasn’t forked it over. I can’t be too grumpy though because it got itself alum mordanted for me. Perhaps I’ll just bring my dyestuff along and do the immersion dyeing first. If I don’t get around to the rest of the layers, I can do that later at home. Or shibori it instead. Whatever. I can’t even decide what colour to dye it yet. Or what to bring for the potluck lunch. Decisions. Decisions.

BTW, if you’re one of the sewing enthusiasts (I’m not getting into the sewer/sewist/seamstress/tailor/whatever debate!), go check out StephC’s blog if you haven’t discovered it yet. Link is up top there with her quote. She’s an American-expat in Australia and has a lot of good sewing and pattern alteration information. Free t-shirt pattern too. I’m slowly making my way through her older posts. It’s that good.

Also currently reading: Just Keep Knitting: a journey of healing through forgiveness, faith and fibre by Lonna Cunningham. Thanks to this post from dear Skipper, I had to check out this book from a Canadian author. You can order the print copy which has just become available or, if you’re as impatient as I am, get the ebook (multiple formats). Smashwords has a promotion on through March 10, 2012 that will give you 50% off – so of course I signed up and downloaded the PDF right away. Fascinating story too. More anon.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Bra Saga – What Part Are We Up To?

Goodness, I’ve been quiet for much too long, haven’t I? I’ve been both busy and lazy. Good combination methinks! Since I have nothing to show for the lazy part except a lot of reading and movie-watching (Hugo – mesmerising; Attack the Block – good sci-fi with a twist), I’ll have to talk about the busy part.

I finished the Black and Tan Bra, but not not before I had to do the same thing as I did with the first one and pick apart the cup seam to re-stitch the tip to underarm area tighter. After comparing the second pattern version to the original 36D, it seems that I inadvertently added more in this area than I should have. Doh. It fits really well now and the straps stay up pretty well if I do it up to the tightest hooks and eyes. That brings the straps closest together at centre back. It’s quite pretty too in its two-tone colourway:

BlackAndTan Bra

So I’ve got the gist of it now, bra wires the right size and surprisingly comfortable. Yay! And I was so right about being football-shaped. See?

PatternCompare1 I layered the straight 36D (squared tissue) over my final pattern (plain white paper). If I had the time and patience I’d outline them to show the differences better, but I’m hoping you can get the gist. The upper cup (top) has more width at the centre (right side) and a little at the top. I also moved the attachment point for the straps over a little toward the centre. The lower cup has more depth at the bottom and at the underarm side (left). I also shaved a little off the peak.


The straps are unchanged. The back band has a little added to the top where it attaches to the centre band. I also moved the attachment point for the straps by shortening that little curve in the centre back. The front band needed the curve for the cup opened a little wider and higher at the underarm edge plus a little extension at the top of the bridge. I also added a sliver to the area of the band under the cup to accommodate both the wire channelling and the elastic without overlapping. Whew! Don’t worry if you didn’t get all that. It’s kind of mind-boggling! But my idea of fun puzzles.

OK. So now I have to test out my third version to see if I’ve finally got it right. I had a lovely trip on Wednesday last back down to Dressew. My excuse was more bra fodder (wires and elastics) but I also got some interesting fabrics that I hope will work for bra cups and bands. (I also got lost in the remnant bins and came home with 9 pieces of fabric in total but that’s another story – or many!) I decided that instead of immediately sewing up the black and chocolate brown bras from my kits, I would make yet another test bra. Here’s the beginning up to where I need to start adding the elastics:


It’s kind of a technical knit fabric with tiny holes in it in an eggshell colour that matches the plain powernet. (Remember the stuff I tried dyeing back aways?) This mesh fabric is not very stretchy but quite strong which is what is needed. I’m hoping it will make a cool summer-weight bra. I didn’t want to put the magenta wire channelling in this bra, thinking it would show too much what with the holes and all. So I made my own channelling! A crosswise strip (the direction with the least stretch) 1.5” wide and folded exactly like double-fold bias tape. Stitched down each side and there you have it – matching channelling! Works too. I tested.

So now I have to finished sewing ’er up. And then we’ll see if I got the pattern right finally. Isn’t this exciting?

Probably won’t get much sewing done today though. The bigger grandbeasties are coming over. Poor things are having an impromptu 3-day holiday from school while their teachers wrestle with the provincial government over their contract. Don’t get me started. This is such déjà vu! The same issue has been coming up in the same way since back when their parents were in grade school. I seem to remember being the drop-off point for a bunch of kids whose parents were unable to find alternative childcare for them. And a lot more parents work these days. I get it though – inconvenienced and annoyed parents should be just the pressure needed to get the thing solved. Nobody is going to be happy in the end anyway. Except the kids who get an extra spring break!