August 24, 2016
I have been kind of absent from posting lately. One of the reasons is my new sewing obsession – I have learned how to sew my own bras. I have spent half my summer sewing bras (when not doing other things) and having a lot of fun learning something new as I make each one.
I actually got interested in making my own undergarments last summer. I started making my own underwear after getting so fed up with the ones you buy either not fitting well or falling apart after six months of use or just wearing out quickly. I don’t care if I bought expensive, high quality underwear or the less expensive kind that come in a package it seemed they did not hold up well. Anyhow – I got a couple of patterns last year from some Etsy sellers – one for a Stretch and Sew underwear set and the other a Kwik Sew pattern – which I believe the Kwik Sew one I got at Hancocks as it is still a current pattern – or was a year ago.
Well, I am happy to say that after a year ago of making my own underwear they are still in good shape after repeated washing. I also bought a bra pattern that was from Kwik Sew, #3594, and decided I would make my own bras as well. I guess I got cold feet on actually sewing them after cutting out the pattern last summer and set it aside. I then noticed Craftsy had a class on bra sewing and construction and decided to take it. Craftsy has great online classes that you can watch at your convenience and watch over and over once you buy them. Anyhow – after taking the bra class then watching some of it I got brave enough to sew the bra and it actually turned out okay. Not great but okay for the first one. It is slightly too large in the cup but I can wear it for working out in or walking or doing yoga so at least I am able to use it. Below is a photo of my first bra.
The bra above is made from nylon tricot fabric, lingerie spandex, bra elastic, bra slides and rings which were all bought from Sew Sassy. Sew Sassy is an online store that specializes in lingerie and swimwear supplies and they have great prices and fast shipping. You can also purchase bra patterns there. I bought an Elan bra pattern there that I have also made and really like the fit.
The bra above is my second or third try at sewing the Kwik Sew pattern and this time I made it with a lace overlay. I had bought the lace last year so I had it available. I also made some matching panties but I didn’t get a good photo of them – you can see a little bit of them in the lower left of the photo. The lace is a stretch lace which is sewn over the tricot fabric.
The navy blue bra above is made with the Elan bra pattern #645. This was my second attempt with this pattern. I had to make a couple of minor fit adjustments from the first one I made and now I am happy with the fit and the style of this pattern. The navy bra is made with navy power net fabric for a lining in the band and with a navy tricot fabric over the top and for the cups. The lace trim was an elastic type of trim I bought last year for my underwear making and decided to trim the upper cup with it and it worked out well. The power net fabric, rings and slides from this bra were bought from an Etsy seller called Tailor Made Shoppe. She has lots of bra making supplies and ships quickly. I have ordered from her two or three times now.
The bra in the above photo is made from the Jalie bra pattern. They are an online store and the pattern can be downloaded. I like this pattern more for a T-shirt style bra. I have made about 3 of them in different colors. The one above is my second attempt and it fits well. I will say that when you try a new pattern there will be some fitting issues to deal with. That is why it is best to kind of do a rough draft with the first one and not really be too concerned with you best sewing – just on getting one made to see how it fits and where you need to adjust it. In the Craftsy class there are lots of tips and instruction for how to adjust fitting issues which helped me in using all three of the patterns.
So, I am sure some are wondering why make your own bra? Well, one thing for me is I wanted and now have bras that fit well and fit right. I think for years I have been wearing ill fitting bras. The other is I am trying to get away from underwire bras and the patterns I have shown you above do not have to be made with an underwire. Also, the last one is cost. The materials you buy to make a bra are considerably less than going to buy one. I can also cut out and sew one in about 3 hours or less and it would probably take that long to drive to a store, try many on and then buy them and drive back home.
Here are some photos of some of the other bras I have been making this summer:
The above purple lace bra is one of my favorites. I had to dye the bra closure as I could not find a purple one that matched to buy. You can dye some of the fabrics and elastics to match if you use the vinegar dye bath method and Rit Dye. I have had fun learning to dye things as well during this sewing project.
The above photo is my most recently sewn bra project. I learned a lot more about sewing the lace bras in the second Craftsy class called Sewing Bras – Foam, Lace and Beyond. I am currently enrolled in that class and watching it when I have time to learn new things about bra making. I have not tried the foam cups yet but that is next on my list of bra patterns to try. Currently I am obsessed with lace.
To learn more about Craftsy and the bra class or other classes they offer you can click on the link in the sidebar to the right to take you to Craftsy.com or click on the highlighted text. So far this bra making class is one of the better ones I have taken there – along with the jeans sewing class I took a couple of years ago.
What have you been working on lately? I would love to hear about it in the comments.
Sewing Ruched Front Top
September 4, 2014
The new ruched front tops I recently made are so simple to sew and super comfortable to wear, too. I decided to make these after seeing some tops like this somewhere and I liked the look. I didn’t even have to go and buy another pattern, thankfully, since I have quite a few already.
The red top in the photo just above is the first one I made. I bought this fabric on clearance and I decided to use something that wasn’t real expensive in case the top didn’t turn out. Well, it did turn out and I have already wore it several times. I am glad the clearance fabric is soft and washes well.
After making the light red color one in a knit fabric I decided to make one in a cotton fabric. I love good quality cotton fabrics and I think some of the cottons I find at quilt shops make great fabrics for clothes and bags, too.
I have plenty of cotton fabric in my stash and I had this one in a pretty summer looking floral. I have had it for a couple of years as I remember I made a skirt with some of it and a bag, too, a couple of years ago – both of them I still have and wear-use. I really like how this one turned out bright and colorful and I have a couple of pairs of shorts to wear with it.
Both versions of this top turned out well. In my opinion though the knit one has a better drape and look to it for this type of design.
How To Make a Ruched Front:
To make a top like this you just need to know how to sew and to gather fabric. You will need a two piece pattern for a top with a front and back and a small cap sleeve or even a sleeveless top. Below are some photos on how to create the ruched front.
I used a pattern for a cap sleeve top that I have designed from the Bernina My Label program I own. I recommend using pattern drafting material – its kind of like interfacing – and tracing your top front pattern piece so you don’t ruin your actual pattern. (mine is kind of wrinkled in the photo from use and also from a cat who likes to sit on it) You will just need one side of the front traced. Then draw lines which start at the center front and extend almost to the side edge. You can see in my photo above I have 6 slash lines. Cut these lines and then spread them apart to open the center front – this is the part that will be gathered. I used some tape to hold the slashes about 1 to 2 inches apart. I then retraced the pattern piece.
Above is the photo of my cut out pattern piece and the marked areas for where I gathered the fabric. To do this I just ran two long basting stitches on each side of the front piece and then pulled them up to gather until the lower part of the top seemed straight. I then placed the fronts right sides together and sewed them. You may want to sew an extra row of stitching to hold the gathers in place. I then just finished the top according to the pattern. Super fun and simple to sew.
What projects are you currently working on? Click on Leave a Reply and tell me about them.
Have a great day!
Easy Sewing Pattern For Tops
July 23, 2014
One of my favorite sewing pattern brands are Kwik Sew patterns. I realize they are a bit more expensive than some other pattern companies but I don’t mind paying extra for a stylish pattern that fits well and has excellent directions.
The other nice thing about their patterns is they are often classic styles. They also come printed on nice heavy paper, not that thin tissue paper that tears easily. All sizes are included in the pattern and I have found that if you want to sew something for yourself and then use the same pattern for someone that is a different size you can easily use this thin, see through, pattern tracing fabric – its kind of like interfacing and is usually sold near the interfacing – to trace multiple sizes. I have also used quilters grid before to trace patterns since you can see through it.
One of my favorite Kwik Sew patterns that I bought years ago and have made many times in various fabrics and prints is pattern number 3632. This pattern is for a top or dress that has an elastic casing at the neckline and sleeve cap to gather those areas in and create and cute and flattering top.
This white knit top above is one I made in the past month. It was super quick and easy to sew. There are only 2 pattern pieces and then you have to sew the casing for your elastic at the neck and arm area, hem the bottom and its finished.
The blue, yellow and white chevron print top above is also made using the same pattern but with a cotton fabric. The pattern is very versatile and I have used various types of fabrics for it. I love how easy it is to make one of these tops – like in a couple hours or less. I have also used stitches other than a straight stitch to sew the topstitched area – on these two tops I used a narrow zigzag stitch for the casings and the hems.
This particular pattern would be a great project for someone learning to sew. The pattern is really easy to read and to sew. I also noticed that Hobby Lobby is now carrying some of the Kwik Sew patterns as well as Joann and Hancocks. In the past in my area I could only buy them at Hancocks.
What types of sewing projects do you like to do?
Have a great day!
Sewing Simple Chevron Top
July 8, 2014
This simple blue chevron top is a sewing project I finished a couple of months ago. I had intended to share it sooner but things have gotten in the way of my plans which is I guess how life goes for everyone at times. I have wore the top several times already and love how simple it was to sew and how comfortable it is to wear. Also, it looks good with skirts, shorts or jeans.
The pattern I used for this top was from the Bernina My Label software – which is pattern drafting software I have that drafts patterns by your measurements. I have mentioned it before and use it quite a bit. This top is actually not one of the patterns in the software – I used the tunic pattern to design this simple cap sleeve top. It is only two pattern pieces – a front and back – and I make a bias neckband facing which I am going to share with you below on how to do this.
The fabric I used was a 100% cotton fabric that I think I ordered from fabric.com. The one thing about making clothing with the chevron prints is that you want to have a little extra fabric to match the chevron pattern as close a possible to look uniform. Also, you want to make a top that does not have a lot of complicated darts or seams that will make the print look strange.
The neckline of this top is sewn with a bias strip of fabric for the facing. A lot of patterns come with a facing that is curved but I often find they are kind of wide and do not always lay well. I have found that using the bias facing technique works much better – especially with this style of top. Below is a little tutorial on how to make a bias neckline facing.
- Step 1 – cut a fabric strip on the bias that is 1 1/4 inch or 1 1/2 inch wide and a little longer than the length around your neckline. For this top I did 1 1/4 inch wide. Note: the bias is the 45 degree diagonal grain of the fabric – most quilting rulers have the angles marked and you can use that as a cutting guide.
- Step 2 – after you have your strip cut finish off one of the long raw edges with a serger or a zigzag stitch
- Step 3 – then pin the other raw edge with right sides together to your neckline starting at the center back of neck- overlap the ends a little (what I usually do is just have an extra long strip and after I am done pinning it to the neckline I cut it where I need to)
- Step 4 – sew the strip to the neckline edge using a 1/2 in seam allowance
- Step 5 – Clip the curved neckline edges close to stitching line, with a steam iron press bias strip out with seam pressed toward the bias strip
- Step 6 – Understitch the facing just inside the neckline seam on the bias strip – you can use the inner toe of your presser foot as a guide
- Step 7 – Press the facing to the inside of the top and topstitch the facing down from the right side of the top – I usually use a 3/8 inch seam or the outer edge of my presser foot as a guide while stitching around the neckline – press again after you complete your topstitching
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and are getting lots of sewing projects done this summer. I would love to hear about what you are working on – click on Leave a Reply to tell me about your current projects and crafts. Also, to receive future blog updates and tutorials follow my blog via email subscription, RSS feed or bloglovin. All icons are in the right sidebar.
Have a great week!
Sewing Napkins Double Sided
February 6, 2014
Sewing your own napkins is a really easy and quick sewing project. We usually use cloth napkins at our house. I started doing this many years ago as part of a green living movement in our home and because paper napkins are rough on your face. I also like the look of cloth napkins on the table over paper napkins. You can coordinate fabrics to go with your dishes as well as sew cute seasonal napkins for various holidays.
This is a tutorial on how to make pretty double sided napkins from cotton fabric. You will need:
- 1 1/2 yds of cotton fabric (quilters fabric) – this will give you 6 napkins
- sewing machine that does a straight stitch and a zigzag stitch
- sewing thread to match fabric
- rotary cutter or sewing scissors
- quilters ruler
- point turner
First thing you need to do is wash and dry all your fabric. I have learned the hard way that you need to do this with anything that is going to be washed or you will be sorry.
Then you will need to iron the fabric and fold it in half right sides together like it came off the bolt, before you cut it.
- Cut fabric 13 inches wide by width of fabric
- Cut 13 inch strips into 13 inch squares – you should be able to get 3 squares total per strip
- Place squares RS(right sides) together and sew around edges using a 3/8 or 1/2 inch seam allowance – leaving a 2 to 3 inch opening at the center of one side for turning
- Turn napkins RS out, clip corners, use a point turner to press corners into a point
- Press napkins with iron
- Set your machine to a zigzag stitch and sew using the edge of your presser foot or a 1/4 inch marking as a guide around all 4 edges – this will close up the opening you left for turning
Now your napkins are all done and ready to use and they look pretty on both sides. The napkins can be washed with your regular laundry and dried. If they are really soiled you can always soak them in color safe bleach like Oxi-clean. I do this a lot with having 3 boys.
I hope you enjoyed this little sewing tutorial. Please subscribe to my blog via bloglovin, email or RSS feed for future sewing tutorials. All icons for subscribing can be found in the sidebar.
Have a great day!
Twisted Tank Top
September 11, 2013
This tank top design is made from a T-shirt. It has quickly become one of my favorite tank tops to wear and to sew.
I designed this tank top after seeing a photo of a tank top pattern that had the twisted shoulder area. I decided I could use a basic T-shirt and make my own version. Therefore it is a quick and easy sewing project.
The one in the above photo I wear to workout in. I added the embroidery to the front – Keep Calm and Exercise. I got the embroidery design from Embroidery Library. I serged the armhole edges and the lower hem edges on the ones in the photos but you can also make it without the serged edges.
If you are interested in learning how to make one of these tank tops I have a tutorial available in my etsy shop. You can click on the link to take you there.
I hope everyone is having a nice week!
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Sewing Lightweight Tops
September 3, 2013
I made these two tops recently from the same pattern. The pattern I used was Simplicity 2594. There are 6 different views in this pattern.
The tops were pretty easy to sew. They have a lined yoke area that I thought would be difficult to sew but it turned out to be pretty simple. There is a little topstitching involved so it is helpful to have an edge stitch foot for that.
I made the mint green one above first and really like how it turned out. I used a basic broadcloth fabric and it was easy to sew on. I have already worn this top many times. This top has a v neck front and a gathered back. There are also a few pleats on the front on each shoulder area. This was view E in the pattern.
The second one I made was this purple one in the above photos. I used the same pattern but made a different view – view B – with the draped cowl neckline. This top is okay. I don’t like how it tuned out as well as the mint green one. I used broadcloth fabric again because it was something I had in my stash and I think a rayon or silky poly fabric would have been a better fabric choice. Even after sewing over 20 years I still make things that don’t always turn out as planned. I have wore this top a couple of times. I am also thinking that I do not care for how the drape of the cowl neck looks on me. I will be sticking with the v neck option or the scoop neckline in the future.
What sewing projects have you been working on lately? Leave me a Reply and let me know.
Have a great day!
Upcycle Project – Old Jeans into Bag
July 18, 2013
I finally finished the denim bag I started over 2 months ago. The project got put aside when I began working on some new skirts and shorts and my summer tunic. Too many ideas and projects and not enough time is forever a problem! Here is my finished bag:
This bag was made using a very old pair of jeans that were mine – I had not worn them in many years. Below are the steps I used to make this bag. Really if you want to make an upcycled bag you can just kind of go with it and use your own ideas and sewing skills. That is more or less how I created mine.
1. Cut off the jeans at the crotch area – draw a chalk line and cut
2. Even up the bottom and sew a little at the lower crotch area to straighten the seam on front and back side
3. Do machine embroidery wherever you desire – I did mine on lower pocket areas and made it so I could use the pockets
4. Lay the denim bag section over your lining fabric and cut out lining
5. Cut straps from denim leg pieces and lining fabric – I did mine 23 in. long by 2 in. wide – cut 2 of each
6. Cut tab closure piece – 6 in. long by 2 1/2 in. wide – 1 denim, 1 fabric and 1 interfacing Angle one end 60 degrees if you want it to be slanted not straight
7. Sew up bottom of bag with 1/2 in. seam allowance and square off ends of bag by sewing in 1 1/2 in. on each corner – I cut this off after sewing to remove bulk
8. Sew up lining on sides and bottom and square off ends as done in step 7
9. Cut 2 circles aprrox. 6 in. around and cut into a spiral for the scrappy flowers
10. Sew scrappy flowers by using a stitch length of 5 and stitch 1/4 in. away from edge of inner side of cut spiral. Pull to thread to gather and coil fabric into a circular flower. Stitch with narrow zigzag in the middle to hold flower in place.
11. Sew scrappy flower to back pocket of bag on corner
12. Straps – sew down each long side with RS together using edge of presser as a seam guide. Turn RS out using a dowel. Press and topstitch edge of each strap – baste straps in desired area on top edge of bag
13. Sew tab closure – fuse interfacing to lining – sew tab with RS together around long edges and angled end – leave straight top side open – clip corners and turn RS out
14. Use a 1 to 1 1/2 in. piece of velcro to sew onto tab on fabric side of tab and other side of velcro to denim bag – I place one verical and 1 horizontal for easy adjustable closure. After sewing velcro on sew tab with basting stitch onto middle of bag
15. Fold down approx. 1 in. on top of open lining part of bag with WS together
16. Place lining WS out down into denim bag. Using edge stitch foot sew around bag to close up lining and secure straps and tab in place – you can then remove basting stitches
17. Make small pleat on either side edge of bag, if desired, to make opening at the top a little smaller
18. Sew other scrappy flower onto tab closure with narrow zigzag stitch to hide velcro stitching
Bag is done! Fill it with stuff!
Recommended items for easier sewing:
- denim needles size 90 or 100
- edgestitch foot for topstitching
- quality sewing thread
This is a fun and easy way to recycle jeans. I made another bag like this about a year ago using some sewing embroidery motifs and sewing fabric for the lining. I did not put the tab closure on that bag because I wanted to use it for a knitting tote not a purse. The flower one I am using as a purse.
Currently I am working on some other ideas for using old jeans. To receive future updates on my other projects subscribe via RSS feed or through bloglovin by clicking on the icons in the sidebar. Have a great day!
Tank Tops made from T-shirts
July 6, 2013
I just love pinterest! It is such a great way to find ideas and inspirations for just about everything.
These tank tops were projects I found on pinterest and decided to make. Both of them use a t-shirt to make the tank.
The royal purple one above was made using the directions I found from the Wobisobi site. The project is called No Sew Halter and if you click on the highlighted text it will take you to the tutorial. It is very easy to follow and requires no sewing. I have made two of these now. There are lots of other no sew t-shirt ideas and tutorials on this blog as well.
The red one to the left was made using a tutorial from crafterhours blog. It is called tee to tank and if you click on the highlighted text it will take you to the tutorial. I also found this through pinterest. This particular tank does require a little bit of sewing. I added a little of my own creativity to this one by hemming the bottom by couching down a variegated yarn that I had leftover in my stash from another project. I also used this yarn to knit some i-cord for the straps at the top and neckline. The i-cord then ties on one side. I really like how this tank top turned out.
After making the red tank top I got inspired to use my pattern making program, Bernina My Label, and make my own version of this tank. I used part of the halter top pattern that is from the My Label patterns and this batik fabric to make the multi color version below.
All of these tank tops are super easy and quick to make. A great way to recycle an old t-shirt and create something new to wear for summer.
I hope everyone is having a nice weekend. It is hot here in Texas so I will probably be wearing one of these tank tops this weekend.
Sewing Pattern Review on Skirts
July 3, 2013
I love to make skirts for spring and summer. The fabrics they offer for these two seasons are just perfect for long or short skirts. I also think that it is more comfortable to wear a skirt when it is hot outside than pants or shorts, sometimes.
I was recently at Hobby Lobby again – it seems I go there about every other week – and they had Simplicity patterns for .99 cents again. I can not resist buying one when they are that low – even though I don’t need any more patterns!
This pattern, Simplicity 1662, offers 5 styles of asymmetrical skirts. The skirts attracted my attention because they look comfortable, different than any of my other patterns, and easy to make.
So far I have made two of them using view A. The navy one (photo above) is in a lightweight broadcloth and the red one (see photo below) is in a cotton print. The red one I altered a little on my own to have a straight hem in the back. I am always changing things on patterns, it seems, to create my own design. The skirts have only a few pattern pieces and an elastic waistband.
These skirts are so easy to sew. Definitely a project a beginner can make. I have been sewing over 25 years and from start to finish, including cutting out the fabric, I made this skirt in a little under 2 hours. A quick and easy summer project. I am planning to make view E next, the longer version with the lower ruffle.
I hope everyone is having a great day and has a Happy 4th of July tomorrow.