Sunday, April 23, 2017

My 2nd Bra prototype - The Maya Bra

I was going to tweak the Sew Lovely Bra that I made last week until I came across the Maya Bra. This is a FREE pattern I came across on Pinterest. AFI Atelier from Romania created this FREE for downloand bra pattern. She provided very good descriptions and instructions on this pattern on her web site. I read some bloggers who have tried this pattern and I thought I could give it a try too.

I couldn't find bra making foam or any bra making notions at my local fabric store. But they carry this 'craft foam' that was about 0.5mm thick. I thought I could try to use this for the foam bra cup.

I thrifted a bunch of bras from my local thrift store to 'harvest' the lingerie notions (straps, elastics, closures).

I used scrap woven cotton that was leftover from my red/white floral tunic, and stash peachy orange knit lining I used for my friend's dress to line the cups. I used 2 layer of the same lining for the back bands. This prove to be an error as this lining is durable but not stretchy enough. I used salvaged shoulder straps from a thrifted bra that were too short.

Even with detail instructions, I managed to made many mistakes that required me to rip out the stitching and elastics over and over again. I thought I was going blind! :-) The bra is not, unfortunately a wearable muslin. The back band is too tight, the shoulder straps are too short, the bridge is still a tad too wide even after I altered it, and the elastics were not pulled tight enough on the side of the cup. However, the cups themselves fit well enough. And with all the stuff that I have learned in making this prototype, I should be able to make a wearable bra next time with the correct notions and proper fabrics.

I think this bra can be made into a very good swim bikini top with swimwear fabrics and notions. I have lots of stash swimwear fabrics and notions. Perhaps I should try making that next!

Monday, April 10, 2017

I sewed my first Bra! Sew Lovely B70 Prototype

I just finished my first bra prototype! I used this thrifted Sew Lovely B70 pattern from 1970.

I didn't buy any special bra making fabrics or notions. I just used the remnant stretch woven cotton that was left over from my last floral red carpet dress. For the closure, I bought really cheap bra extenders from the dollar store (3 extenders for $1.5). As for the straps, I just used the removable straps from my strapless bra. I also happened to have narrow black elastic in my stash. I used some contrast threads so that I could see the problems I would encounter in sewing such narrow seams.

I used only 1 layer of fabric for all pieces as this was supposed to be a prototype for fit and practice purposes. The pattern calls for non-stretch fabric for the cups and Powernet for the band. I didn't have Powernet so I decided to just use the same fabric but cut on the bias to allow some slight stretch. It actually worked out well. The next time I make this, I will make sure to add soft lining fabrics to the cups as well as a comfortable but firm fabric at the band.

This style of bra is unusual because bras nowadays almost always separate the 2 breasts with a bridge in the middle. This bra pattern doesn't have that bridge. Also, this style doesn't allow one to add underwires to give more support. So the band at the bottom of the breasts have to be very firm to support the cups. I have personally never worn bras that have non-stretch cups so I suppose it takes some getting used to. But I can see that these can be really lovely, vintage-looking, special occasion bras in beautiful fabrics that one would want to show off.

Here it is on the rack:

And here it is on me. The cups seams have ripples in them so I need to adjust the cups pattern slightly.

The next time I make this bra, I will probably add some soft padding to the cups since the bra pattern doesn't allow underwires. The pattern instructions are not very clear for a beginner bra maker like me. But I somehow figured it out. I am definitely interested in making this again with all the adjustments that I am planning to make. It doesn't take a long time to make as long as I have made all the alterations on the pattern pieces. Looking forward to making my 2nd bra prototype!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

I've joined Me Made May'17!

I have been a participant of Zoe Edwards' Me May May challenges a few years in a row. This year I'm doing the same. Here is my pledge:

 'I, Lovenicky of Frou Frou by Lovenicky (, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I endeavour to wear at least 2 me made garments/accessories each day for the duration of May 2017'


Since I recently participated in the Wardrobe Sudoku Contest held by in Feb, I think I should be quite prepared for this year's MMMay 17 challenge. But it certainly won't stop me from making more me-made garments or accessories before May!

Trying something NEW - Making a Bra!

I  have made many different garments for myself and my family/friends over the years. There were some 'firsts' that I were really proud of: welt pockets, men's coat, swimsuits, underwear, etc. The one thing that I had always wanted to make but was always intimidated by: making a bra for myself.
I had researched on and off on the web regarding how to make well-fitting bras. However, each post I read about bra making, it seemed to require ordering special bra patterns, special (and usually expensive) bra making fabrics and notions. Since I already have well fitting RTW bras, I didn't want to invest too much into making something that might not fit.

What a lucky coincidence that I found this very vintage, 1970 bra making pattern at my local thrift store:

These 2 uncut, pristine patterns together cost me $1.99. Sew Lovely Lingerie patterns don't exist anymore. And their fabric requirements printed on the pattern envelope were difficult to translate into modern man made fabrics. I have found some useful info online from others who have bought these patterns too.  However, I haven't found anyone who has actually sewn with these patterns yet.

So this will be my April MAGAM (Make a garment a month) project. I'm going to attempt the bra only as I have already drafted well fitting panties pattern for myself. If all goes well, perhaps I will look into investing in some proper bra making fabrics and notions. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 3, 2017

MAGAM March garment - Vogue 8190 Floral Dress

I have been away from the blogsphere for a while - family illness, travel, family illness, etc. Now I'm back. I have finished the March MAGAM (Make a Garment a Month) themed dress. The theme was 'Movie Make'. I decided to use one of my stash pattern Vogue 8190 to make a 'red carpet style' dress. I found this black and white floral stretch cotton woven in my stash that had been there for 8 years. I never knew what to do with it until now.

The pattern is a ruched front, strapless gown. Strapless gowns can be a bother because they always conform to gravity (i.e. slipping down slowly) so I decided to add straps to this dress. Also, the floral cotton fabric was busy enough without having to ruch it. I decided to just use the lining pattern pieces to make a simple dress with flounced hem.

I used my usual size 14 but the chest area needed some adjusting. I did my usual short waist adjustment. The dress wasn't difficult to sew without the ruching. It was actually easier to make body adjustment using just the lining pattern pieces. I chose the shorter length flounce instead of the longer one because I was hoping to actually wear this to a dinner date. I added 5 strips of boning in the foundation garment. I also added firm cups in the chest area. However that length just below the knee seems to make me look even shorter. Perhaps the longer, floor length would have been the better choice.

I realized that the floral fabric is great in camouflaging the lumps and bumps on my body. However, it also creates a generally heavier, fuller look. So I decided to add a black belt and see if it could define the waist better:

I think it defines the waist a little better. In a way, I think that 'Santa Claus Belt' actually make the dress a bit more casual looking so that I can actually wear it for a family brunch as well as to a wedding as a guest.

In general this pattern is okay the way I have used it. The length to me is not the most flattering so that can be remedied by shortening the length or by using the longer flounce. I think this pattern can be used for a very nice wedding gown or wedding guest dress.  I'm not sure if I will use this again as I have tonnes of other uncut patterns that I haven't tried yet in my stash.

My review of this pattern is at PatternReview.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

MAGAM March ideas - Red Carpet Dresses

The March theme for MAGAM (Make A Garment A Month) is 'Movie Makes'. I am interpreting this as a grand dress for movie premieres, red carpet, etc. I have been itching to make a grand dress but I have nowhere to wear this type of garment. This MAGAM theme gives me a good excuse to make something completely useless but fun! :-)

I have been gathering special occasion dresses pictures on Pinterest. There are just too many beautiful dresses that I want to make!

As much as I would love to make every dress I see, I have to have a look at my fabric stash and pattern stash to see what I actually have. I'm not buying anything new to make this grand dress that I have no occasion to wear! Also, considering that I will have lost a good 2 weeks of sewing time this month (1.5 weeks of March break with the kids), I probably won't have a lot of time to draft new patterns and do muslins for the gowns. All of the above dresses will require me to learn something new with this project that is not a straight-out-of-the-pattern type sewing. Some require more drafting and alterations than others. Some of them require more fabric than others. Time to dive into my fabric and pattern stash to have a look.!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Wardrobe Sudoku Garments - RTW prices

Since I haven't shopped RTW garments/accessories for a long time, and I used all stash fabrics/notions/patterns to make all the Wardrobe Sudoku Contest garments, I thought it might be a fun idea to find out approximately how much I would have to pay for all the garments/accessories that I have made for this contest.

I went online to do a quick check on the sale prices of garments that have a similar look and made with a similar fabric. I concentrated on the items that are on sale because I probably wouldn't have paid full price for those items if I was shopping at the stores. I didn't factor in the 2 pre-sewn garments for this exercise.

1. Red/Green polyester chiffon blouse - approx. $30
2. Red stretch cotton woven slim pants - approx. $40
3. Grey stretch woven slim pants - approx. $50
4. White striped tunic shirt - approx. $45
5. Red floral cotton tunic - approx. $45
6. Large Denim patchwork tote bag - approx. $30
7. Medium Denim patchwork tote bag - approx.$25
8. Large Wool paisley wrap - approx. $55
9. Long green chiffon scarf - approx. $15
10. Grey knit cardigan jacket - approx. $50

So all the items I sewed in the last few weeks with existing materials would have cost me approximately $385 if they were all on sale. That's 2 week's worth of groceries for my entire family! I am just happy that I can make my own garments and accessories. But at the same time, I'm quite embarrassed how large my fabric/notion stash really is!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Wardrobe Sudoku Contest: Final Summary and Outfit photos

This is the last task to finish my entry of the Wardrobe Sudoku Contest. My final Wardrobe Sudoku Composite:

I chose 2 out of the 3 tote bags that I have made this month. I switched out the green suede wedge shoes for the black patent leather heels.

And here are all the outfits from this Wardorbe Sudoku:

I'm pretty happy with this new Spring wardrobe! I think I'll have a great time wearing these outfits. I have enjoyed this process greatly. Initially I thought I wouldn't be able to find enough complementary fabrics/notions, then I thought I wouldn't be able to finish all the garments before the contest deadline. But I realize now that if I plan carefully, sew consistently and not stress too much about it, it can be done! Most important of all, I have used up a lot of my stash fabrics/notions, and depleted some of my to-be-refashioned stash and scraps stash. Yay!!!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Wardrobe Sudoku Contest: Last item Red slim pants McCall's 5273

Wow! This is the last piece of garment for the Wardrobe Sudoku Contest. I made a pair of red slim pants a few years ago but I wore and laundered it so much that those pants were falling apart. I had more red stretch woven cotton fabrics in my stash so I decided to make another pair with a slight twist.

I used the same tried and true and tweaked McCall's 5273 that calls for moderate stretch fabrics. I made view C which is an elastic pull-on style. This is my 14th (?) time using this pattern so it all came together really quickly. I added a faux front fly and sewed down permanent narrow pleats in the front leg pieces.

I'm pretty happy with them. I think I'll be wearing these very often in the Spring, Summer and Autumn.

It's such a relief to have completed all the garments for this Wardrobe Sudoku Contest! I was worried that I wouldn't find enough stash fabrics/notions that would go together, and then I was worried that I would run out of time because of the upcoming March Break. I am also very excited to have so many new sewn garments to wear this coming spring, summer, and autumn! I am also very thankful for all the encouragements I have received from my blog friends who cheered me along!

Now I will need to do a photo session with all the different combinations of garments/ accessories for this Wardrobe Sudoku.

My review of this pattern is at PatternReview.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Wardrobe Sudoku Contest: Accessories

I love making accessories and I wanted to bust my remnant stash by making useful tote bags. Here is my just 1 bag of my very large scraps stash:

I have made lots of bags from these remnants. I find that I can be very creative with the different small pieces of scrap fabrics.  Here are the 3 tote bags that I think will be quite versatile that should go with different outfits:

I need to choose 2 tote bags from this lot to go with my outfits in the Wardrobe Sudoku Contest. Which 2 do you think would be best? Any suggestions for me?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wardrobe Sudoku Contest: 2nd Accessory

I was planning on making 2 bags and 2 scarves for this contest. I made the 1st scarf fairly quickly but I was having trouble figuring out what fabrics to use for the 2nd scarf. I dug deep into my fabric stash and found this wool paisley fabric that I bought in the UK in 2002!! 15 years ago! I love the various colours on this fabric. I simply folded over the edges twice and sewed it down to make one big rectangular scarf - 150" x 47".

And it seems to look nice with the new striped shirt I had made:

I'm pretty happy with this. It looks a bit more Autumn than Spring but I'm sure that this is something I will wear.

So now I need to figure out what 2 bags to make and finish the red slim pants for the contest.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Wardrobe Sudoku Contest: 4th Top New Look 6344 and Simplicity 5204

This is my 4th top for the Wardrobe Sudoku Contest. I found this striped cotton poplin with a slight stretch in my fabric stash. It had been there for years! If it wasn't for this contest, I would have totally forgotten about it. This contest is so great for my stash discovery and stash busting!

I was initially planning to use Simplicity 5204 to make a three quarter sleeves shirt with this fabric:

However, since the last tunic top with New Look 6344 went so well and fit so nicely on me, I decided to do a franken-pattern top. I would use New Look 6344 for the body and Simplicity 5204 for the sleeves. I have previously used Simplicity 5204 for a couple of linen shirts for the office and I liked the faux button up sleeve detail. But I had always dreaded a button up shirt as they tend to pull at the button front (I always end up 'wrestling' with the kids or carrying/moving heavy stuff).

I chose view C of New Look 6344 with the shirt collar and the sleeves of View D in Simplicity 5204. The shirt came together very quickly. I made my usual short waist adjustment. The buttons were also from my stash:

I think it looks fine and I'm pleased with how it turned out. It is versatile enough for the office or casual wear. It is basic enough that I can wear any colours with it. Yay! I have finished making all the tops for this contest! Now I need to concentrate on making the final bottom as well as 3 other accessories to complete the sudoku.

The review of this pattern is at PatternReview.