Done! (And What’s Next)

Here are the final pics of my bralette.


More of the cups

Cup Closeup

The back

Inside Cups Closure


Closeup of the back. There’s a tiny gap between the sides, but I can live with it.

Back closure closeup

After wearing it around the house for a bit, I decided on some other structural changes for the next one. I want to add boning and an underwire. I realize that that makes it much more like a real bra and adds a lot more sewing time, but it’s the only way I’d feel completely secure. The straps are great (although I’ll make them wider next time), but I think they’re doing too much work supporting the bodice.

Now I have to figure out which project to do next.

I’m torn between 1. my newest obsession, swimwear; 2.  the often-mentioned, but never completed French Jacket; or 3. my Retro Bombshell Dress from Craftsy.

Candidate #1: I found this fabulous blog, Kitschy Coo and her amazing four part swimsuit tutorial. She covers everything from measuring yourself to constructing the swimsuit. Right after I finished reading it, I measured myself and starting dreaming of all the swimsuits I’ll be able to make. I haven’t settled on a single idea yet, but I’m definitely sticking to my retro theme. For those of you looking for a readymade retro swimsuit pattern, definitely check out Closet Case Files’ retro swimsuit. It’s a stunner and she did a sewalong on her blog to walk you through the tricky steps.

Candidate #2: I’m thinking a lot about (actually more like feeling guilty about) my French Jacket. I see the muslin and still manage to avoid working on it. I lost about 10 lbs since I’ve been working on it, so basically I need to do a good bit of alterations on it and it might just be easier to make a new one.

Candidate #3: I just found some really cute (and inexpensive) cotton fabric that I can use for the Bombshell dress. As usual, I’m going to have to do an FBA and I’d rather use this fabric before I use the black stretch cotton I bought. I figure you can never have too many Bombshell dresses. I already taped together and cut out the PDF pattern and prewashed the fabric so I’m ready to get to work.

So there it is. I’m still thinking, but I’ll be cutting into something within the next 48 hours.


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I Needed Closure

Sometimes I forget that when I make changes to a pattern, the domino effect kicks in and I’ll have to make even more changes down the line. Case in point: my bralette top.

The original pattern closes with four buttons and I knew from the beginning that that wasn’t going to happen. My issues with buttonholes have already been discussed exhaustively so I won’t talk about them again here. (By the way, did I ever tell you that the buttonholer that came with my machine doesn’t work? Never, not once. I even called Singer and the representative spent about 30 minutes with me going over every possible problem and we couldn’t get it to work properly. Now if the manufacturer can’t get it to work, what chance do I have?)

Anyway, if I’m unwilling to make four buttonholes, you know I’m not going to make the eight or nine that this bralette would need so I decided on a zipper. I grabbed one from my stash and sewed it in. Now, some of you may already foresee the problem with this, but I didn’t until I tried to put it on. I couldn’t even get it over my shoulders because – yes boys and girls – I didn’t use a separating zipper! I don’t have one in my stash either, but you know what I did have? Hook and eye tape!


So I used it instead. It was late and I sewed the hooks facing the outside (doh!) but it’s really not a big deal to me and, more importantly, I refuse to pull the entire thing out again. Besides, this was supposed to be a simple project, remember?

Hook and eyes

The only things left to do are the straps and the hem and it’s DONE!

Another thing: as you can see from the picture, the h&e tape is exposed, and I’m going to pretend this was an intentional design detail but for future projects, I’ll have to remember to make the bodice back a bit wider so I have enough to make a flap to cover the opening. I’ll post pics of the finished project in my next post.


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Bralette Top – in Gingham!

I’ve been working on this top for a few days and so far it’s coming along nicely. The hardest part was doing the FBA. I thought I might be able to avoid it since the cups looked like they’d be a bit roomy, but I was wrong. There was quite a bit of slashing and spreading to get from this


to this


but I finally got it to fit well. I still have to do the lining and close the back but here’s how she looks so far:


and here she is again with my new best friends – pattern weights courtesy of the hardware store at 79 cents each


I’ve never been a fan of gingham, but for some reason, this year I like it. It’s such a summery fabric and it’s going to look fab with my yet-to-be-sewn white high-waisted skirt and capelet. Now I just need the right shoes…


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Finally Finished My Capelet

Here she is in all her wrinkled glory. I swear I ironed it. I think I’m going to have to get some spray starch for this one.

Capelet copy

Here’s a pic of my bound buttonhole. I’m really happy that I forced myself to go with my original plan. I think I would’ve felt cheated otherwise.

That’s it for now. I’m working on my Simplicity 1426 bralette top and the FBA has proved to be challenging for this D-cup wearing seamstress. Also, I don’t want to have buttonholes at the back so I’m trying to decide between hook and eye tape or a zipper.

I cut out one bodice and ruined my red/white gingham material because I cut the waist too narrow (I’m talking 3 inches so all the sucking in in the world wasn’t going to help that situation). The second bodice I cut out should fit much better because I’m low-carbing it for a while so my stomach will be nice and flat and I won’t feel uncomfortable. Anyway, I’ll have pics next time.

Oh and I found some great stretch gabardine for Butterick 6019. I’ve been looking for stretch bengaline because one of my favorite dresses from Stop Staring, the Billion Dollar Baby, is made from it.

Stop Staring Dress

So far no luck though, but I’m going to continue looking. In the meantime, back to my bralette and some other projects I’ll reveal later.


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More Bound Buttonholes

I tried. I really did. I wanted to make my life easier by making regular buttonholes, but I just couldn’t do it. I knew that I’d regret taking the shortcut because that’s not the way I sew. Besides, this blog is about techniques that take a little longer, but are worth the effort because they elevate the garment.

Once I committed to the bound buttonholes, my next task was to find tutorials and start practicing on scraps until I was comfortable. I used tutorials from Colette Patterns and Gertie to get me back on track. I ended up using a hybrid between the two methods. In my last post, I mentioned that I forgot to apply the interfacing so I reopened the jacket and adding the interfacing you see in the pictures below.

Since my jacket is white, I was reluctant to use any wax tracing paper. I wasn’t even willing to risk chalk residue so I decided on thread tracing. The two vertical tracks mark the width of the buttonhole. I decided to make the buttonhole 1/4″ high, so each “lip” is 1/8″ high. The horizontal thread is the center of the buttonhole.

IMG_8925 IMG_8922

Using Colette Patterns template method, I cut a piece of fabric about 3″ x 4″ then traced a 1/4″ template onto the center. I then folded the fabric in half and pressed it so that the center of the template was in the fold. (In other words, there was 1/8″ above the fold and 1/8″ below). Then I aligned the folded edge with the horizontal thread line.


My hand sewing fell apart at the top left corner, but after I machine stitched around the thread tracing and pulled the fabric to the wrong side of the jacket, it looked like a decent square.


I tugged at it a bit so that you don’t see that extra fabric on the sides of the square, then I created the lips and did the final stitching.

So now the capelet’s done. I had to give it a good hand washing because it was dingy from being handled. Now all it needs is a good press and I’ll add pics of the finished project in a later post.

Next up: the gingham bralette top. I thought this pattern (View C) would look cute with my new white capelet and a white pencil skirt. I’m going to lengthen it by a few inches so that I only have an inch or two of skin showing between my top and the skirt’s waistband. I have a red/white gingham on my table right now, but I’m seriously considering going back for the black/white one too.


The high-waisted skirt will be from M5590 which is OOP, but it’s a pretty fabulous pattern.


But the skirt will be AFTER I spend some time with my French Jacket. The weather has been pretty chilly here (except for 1 or 2 days that went into the high 50s) so I’ve been putting it off as I don’t see myself going outside in just a jacket any time soon. Yeah I know the same thing could be said for the capelet, but that was supposed to be a quickie project remember?

So, what’s on your sewing table? I’m curious about other people’s spring sewing projects.


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