Monday, July 21, 2014

Boob Camp - My First Creations

Like many women - my bras don't fit very well. I make lovely clothes to wear, but underneath it all - my underwear is in a bit of a sorry state. The straps fall off my shoulders, the cups are too large - particularly the bottom half (the lower cup/under cup)- there are folds in the fabric, the band seems to fit OK but slide up a bit at the back. I could go on - but really, I want to tell you about what I learned at Boob Camp and what I made.

The classes are held in a bright and airy room in the back of the shop (Bra Makers Supply). As I did not want to bring a sewing machine with me on the plane, I rented a Janome for the week. It was rather nice to work on - but I think that you get used to your own machines, and I kind of missed my Pfaff. There were just four of us in the class - they can hold up to 9 people, so it meant that there was a lot of time that our instructors - Beverly herself, and Denise - could spend on us individually.

To get things started, we were individually measured by Beverly and she magically produced a bra (from a carefully cataloged collection of over 30 different cup/band sizes) that I tried on - and guess what, it was the most comfortable one I have ever worn!  Apparently I needed a few minor adjustments - the lower cup needed to lose volume, and I need more width in the back strap.  These adjustments were made by Beverly to our master pattern - we used the Classic Full Band pattern, and that included (in my case) splitting the lower cup piece into two pieces in order to accommodate a dart that would take out volume that I did not need.  And then we made up a plain white bra.  Since completing it, it has barely left my body - it is that good!

We used a 'non matching' thread to sew this up (I used a creamy off white) in case we needed to unpick.  And that came in very handy!!!

Next up was to tweak the pattern a little a use some lace.  I auditioned a couple of fabrics - ivory with lace on top:

Or blue with the lace on top:

And I went with the blue - a gorgeous turquoise.  There are three fabrics in use here - duoplex, a fabric with very little stretch that is used for the straps, cups and bridge (the piece that holds the cups in place and attaches to the band at the back) and powernet, a stretchy fabric that is used for the band at the back, and lace - for the decoration.  I also used a handy dandy kit that had all the findings that I needed - elastics, trims, sliders etc, that co-ordinated beautifully with my main fabric.

As you can see, the lace placement makes it look like I have a butterfly on the front.  I added a little lace to the side band as well.  Because I can!!

And here is the finished bra - my 'ta-da' moment!!

And a close up:

I absolutely love it!  I would never, ever have thought of wearing such a gorgeous garment - even if I could find one that a) fit me and b) was within my budget.

Want to see what I made next?  How about a cheeky black and red number?

I used a different pattern for this bra.  Rather than having the elastic trim across the top of the cups, I used the finished edge of some 'oh, so lovely' lace with red embroidery.  There is also another piece to the bra cup itself at the sides, so it looks as though the side of the cups morph into the straps.  This is called the Shelley pattern and looks lovely on because although there is plenty of coverage with the cups - the lace allows a cheeky glimpse of skin.  Very purdy!!!  I have to admit to actually finishing this bra off at home, as part way through this I started on a moulded cup bra.  More of that tomorrow . . . . as well as a glimpse of the inside of another fabric shop that was like an Aladdin's cave - such  gorgeous, gorgeous fabrics.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Boob Camp - Arrival

I have just spent the most inspiring week in Hamilton, Ontario, learning how to make bras - oh my goodness.  It was fabulous!  I found the course advertised online by Bra Makers Supply and it is run by Beverly Johnson.  I chose to take a five day course as I was traveling from Calgary - Hamilton is a four hour flight away, so I needed to make it worth it!

I arrived in Ontario at midday on the Sunday (the course started the next day) and took a quick trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake:

This lovely town (maybe, village) is only a short drive from the actual Falls, and is stunning.  It reminded me of the English countryside - a mixture of the Lake District, Devon and a smattering of Kent and Berkshire!

Then on to the main event, Niagara Falls. 

My photos really do not do it justice at all.  The roar, speed and force of the water is really quite breathtaking.  I didn't go behind the falls, or take a trip on the boat - it actually sails around the base of the fall, but nonetheless, I was glad that I took time out to visit.  I went to the falls a few years ago but that was in March and the view is quite different - and it is much quieter.  There are not so many tourists when there is snow on the ground!

Well, my next stop will be in my class.  Here is where I spent the rest of the week:

I look forward to sharing more with you tomorrow!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Photobombed by a Greyhound

Not sure about you, but I like to photograph my makes as a reminder of when/how I made something. You have noticed that there are plenty of posts with pics of my sewing makes, and a few of my knitting. Like this one. This morning I wanted to take a few photos of a pair of socks that I had just completed - nothing special about them other than they were made out of yarn that was very soft - and the colour of the yarns is very pretty (Knit Picks Felici):

Then along came a greyhound who wanted to be in on the action!!

Thank-you Hobbes.  I guess it is time to play!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

More Unselfish Work - And a Sewing Course Coming Up!

It has been a while since I have made any clothes for myself, and I am a little sad about that. The reason that nothing has come out of my sewing room (clothing wise) is that I have lost weight recently (26 lbs and counting!) and although this is the ideal time to make some new (smaller) garments - I don't want to use my lovely, lovely fabrics for clothes that will only last a couple of months. I know that some of you go through your wardrobes with gusto each season, clearing out the old to make place for the new, but I tend to keep hold of clothes for a little longer.  So, no clothes sewing for now . . . . however, I am booked on a bra-making course on July 14th (here in Canada!!) and I can't wait!  I have booked a week long course - if I have to travel halfway across the country, I really need to spend a few days there!  I plan to travel a little whilst I am there - Niagara Falls is relatively close, and I understand that Burlington is worth a visit as well.  Oh, and then there is Lake Ontario, I think that I will be dipping my tootsies in the sea.  Has anyone taken a course like this?  Do you make your own bras?

Sadly, if my bras could speak right now, I am sure that this is what they would be saying - but in a couple of weeks, I should have some much happier underwears!!

But here is what I have been making.  A few baby hats and wallets to raise money for charity.

Pretty cute hats - very quick and easy to make.

The fabric for the aboe wallet is from a designer called Laurel Burch - probably very well known amongst the quilters out there.  Her colour combinations are gorgeous.

And finally, the last two greyhound fabrics are from Spoonflower - they are not my designs, but you can buy other peoples designs,and this is what I made.  The fabric is pretty expensive, but I have been very pleased with the quality and service.  Definitely worth a look if you are after something specific - or want to have your own design printed up.

Have you ever had your fabric design printed up?  And what about weight loss/gain - how does that affect your sewing?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Decidedly Unselfish - For a Change!

Other than a few pairs of socks and a couple of dresses, I really am a selfish creator.  I've spoken about this before, but I really struggle when making clothes for others.  What if they don't like it?  Want it bigger/smaller etc., etc., so instead, I remain selfish.  Well, mostly.  You see, for the last year or so I have been supporting a couple of galgo rescue groups in Spain, (Galgos del Sol and Baas Galgo)

For those who have never heard of these charities, or in fact, the galgos themselves, this is what GDS have to say on the home page of their website:

We rescue and rehabilitate abandoned and injured galgos for placement in forever homes in the UK, Europe, and US. Bred solely for hunting, thousands of galgos are abandoned or killed annually at the end of each short season. 

Galgos are not typically considered as pet worthy in Spain and their lives end in less than humane ways either in perreras (kill stations) or abandoned to a life of persecution on the streets. 

To cut a long story short, I have made a few bits and pieces that will be sold/auctioned off for these two wonderful charities.  Wanna see what I have made??

This hood, modelled by my greyhound Rocky, was a quick and fun knit.  Not fun for Rocky though, he really did not want to model for me at all . . . . sorry old boy x

I put a few dinosaur spikes/plates down the back (think stegosaurus), but even that did not bring him and comfort!

And I use some lovely fabric from Spoonflower to make this wallet:

I've not used Spoonflower before - it took about 3 weeks from ordering to delivery here in Canada, but I would certainly buy from them again.

I bought four fat quarters - all greyhound prints - in their Kona Cotton.  It is expensive, but was just exactly what I wanted.

Finally,  I made a pair of socks for my brother.  These are known amongst knitters as 'monstersocks' as they are made up from leftover yarns from other sock projects.  Over to you Paul!

So there we have it.  A few more projects that have recently been completed.  I have not completed any dressmaking recently - not sure why, but I have just not had the urge.  I have, however, enjoyed all these other projects, so having got these out of my system, maybe some clothes are next on the radar.

How about you - do you move around from one craft to another, or are you more monogamous?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Catching Up Pt 3 - Wallets

And then I came across a pattern for wallets.  And that was that.  I made one or two or a whole lot more!!

I loved making these, the inside, binding and closure tab took just one fat quarter, and then the front portion was cut out of a second fat quarter (a quarter yard of quilting fabric, usually 18" x 22") .

Inside there is space for six credit cards and then the two deeper pockets can hold something larger - perhaps receipts, health cards etc.

Now I made these primarily for myself - not that I need so many wallets, but I like to keep my cards all together so there are no zippers or coin pockets.

And I get really excited about some of these fabric matches - the colours are just such fun!

I called this wallet (above) the 'Cool Cats in London' (what-do-you-mean . . . . your wallets don't have names??)

I bought a panel for the wallet above - it is what I would call 'Primitive Americana' and there are different scenes on it so I could make a number of wallets and although you could tell that they belonged together - they would all be different.  A bit like a clothing collection really.  I got a bit carried away with the labels though, and this one ended up with two!

To finish off I made a sweet little coin purse. This was a new pattern and I'm not too happy about how it ended up (my issues, not the pattens) so I guess in quilting terms it could be known as a 'useable muslin'!!

All in all it has been a fun diversion. I know that I am nearing the end of this sojourn, because when I went to look in my local fabric shop, the quilting fabric was not calling my name! I did have some fun with precision sewing - those 1/4" take a bit of getting used to, but a 1/4" foot helps immeasurably. I also got to play with interfacing weights (some of the wallets are pretty rigid whilst others have some bendability).

And the fabrics - I really love the colours and patterns that you get with quilting cottons. I love that these projects are quick and easy (and don't take a large table to cut out on!) and I suspect that I will continue to make little bits and bobs during the week and dress-make at the weekends. I have also toyed with making up some wallets and purses, and maybe some mug rug patterns, to sell on Ebay. Isn't it great that we live in a time when we can realise these kinds of dreams?

I have a busy weekend this weekend - my father really loves Charley Pride, so I am taking him to see Charley in concert this weekend.  Although it is not my kind of music - I remember growing up listening to it, and he has a fabulous voice and great stage presence. So, not much sewing this weekend, but I am now ready to start planning what to make next.  It looks like Winter has finally turned its back on Alberta - we have had temperatures in the 20's (centigrade) all week, so it is probably time to chop up the linen!  How is your Spring/Summer sewing coming along?