Teeny lingerie

Susan recently released her new Emma racer back bralette and slip.

Did you see the dark moody floral version she made?

She’s developed this style because traditional straps on nightwear and slips just don’t work for her shoulder shape. Racer back tops are really supportive for gymwear so I wanted to road test this pattern out.

The slip I made was such a game changer for me. The straps are so supportive. The upper bust holds to me firmly. The skirt on the slip lends itself to applying all sorts of gorgeous knit lace.

I was able to use up bra elastic, bra notions and black tricot that I had in my stash.

There are also lace remnants used to on the bra cups.

The lace on the hem was bought last week.


Susan’s a friend and she gave me this pattern to test. Yes I admire her work and ability to develop patterns that are different and useful.

It’s Winter here and I tend to wear slips to stop knit dresses from ‘sticking’ to me.

Now for the bralette. 
This is the first version I made and I had a ball making it.

I’m not the ideal candidate for a bralette but my amazing, youngest niece (all the nieces and nephews are amazing) was thrilled to have a bralette made by her aunty. Yay me!

It’s not often I sew for others so I did a bit of research and asked her Mum what colours to use. I had thoughts of florals, gorgeous lace, all sorts of ideas. 

Thankfully she’s an urban kid at heart so black and grey were what she wanted. This set kept me using my lingerie stash.

Ok, I bought the grey fabric but the rest is all from my stash.

The instructions for both the slip and the bralette are helpful and complete. 
That meant I could follow them easily in between bouts of housework over the weekend.

The bottoms are made using View B from McCalls 5651. 


The bottoms took a bit of time to work out because the McCalls pattern doesn’t use elastic on the legs, so I had to work out the elastic lengths I needed. 

Above is View A and View B in lace remnants for me and not young Miss. The lining in these views is too short and also not as wide as the front pants.

So I think I’ll give Susan’s Emma racerback pattern lots of thumbs up.

Those Prym sewing notions need to be used so I have plenty of lingerie projects ahead.

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Pinup girls Classic bra

This time I decided to test out the Pin-up Girls Classic bra to use up some of my bra stash. I bought this from Sew Squirrel.

So far this year I’ve bought three bra kits from Susan of Measuretwicecutonce so I felt is was time to give the yellow kit a try. 

Susan constantly changes her kits so I keep an eye on what she has on offer each month.

 This cream colour on is the test version I made using the Classic bra pattern.

 The cups were a bit high for me so I adjusted them for Susan’s kit.

 Above the progress shot and as you can see, the lace is not lined.

I used the premade bra strap to check the ones I made using Susan’s kit. The level of details in making bras can ‘do your head in’. I certainly does my head in.

Here’s the final version and I’ve applied a gold pre-made rose.

This version uses leftover pieces from both bras and I’ve used a bigger pre-made flower for the finishing touch. The inner lace is lined but not the side cup.

I still have two more kits to make up but I’ve put these aside for now. There are some foam bra cup shapes I’ve purchased locally so they might be the next bra projects to conquer.

What was I thinking

This is one project I just could not understand – making a stock-standard bra. Nothing spesh. Plain and ordinary.
Kwik Sew 3300 has been around and has been reviewed by lots of really competent sewing bloggers. Right now there are so many new bra patterns that it made no sense for me to buy another pattern until I cracked this pattern.

This underwire bra pattern uses 

  • power net for the back bands, 
  • plush elastic for the band base and top, 
  • picot elastic for the top cup edges finished, 
  • self made shoulder straps from tricot and 
  • self made wire channelling. 

View A cups are made from lace and tricot, and view B cups are made from tricot.
I decided to use pre-made shoulder straps and re-made underwire chanelling.

Most of my notions were bought at Metro Fabrics, the Remnant Warehouse and from an ebay seller who was selling their lingerie fabrics and notions. I should have bought 3×3 hook/eye sets.

My ignorance
My first two attempts were plain stupid. I had no knowledge about the fabrics needed, types of elastics, underwires, shoulder straps, hooks and the list goes on and on.
This is my 3rd attempt and I’ve salvage some of the notions.

I decided to make the 34B but I kept changing my mind about elastics, laces, hooks/eyes, straps because I had no idea about what was what.

Here’s my 4th attempt.

This plain white attempt is my 4th attempt and it fits nicely. #success

It’s taken me two years to go back to the first two attempts and try again. The first two attempts were failures but I was able to tweak the pattern pieces for a better fit.


Machine stitching

There are a number of stitch types used to a decent bra that I hadn’t used before. It took several viewings of Craftsy’s bra making course to learn about the stitching. Beverly Johnson is a certainly a bra fairy or bra-whisperer and owner of Bra makers supply. I bought this course on sale and it’s now got me over the line.
Beverley advises to place all your pieces and notions on a board when you’re about to start sewing.

Beverly’s bra knowledge especially her bra notions and hardware knowledge were and are invaluable to me and she’ll remain my ‘go-to’ bra resource.


What did I change
The lace version is full lace cup and some lace on the side and on the bridge.

The main cup shape change was on the upper cup piece. I altered the shoulder strap location to be closer to my neck as RTW bra straps sliding off my shoulders.

I also darted out some space in the upper cup piece because it seemed too wide at the top.

The bridge is also slimmer than the pattern.

Measuretwicecutonce Mary knickers with Kwik Sew 3300

Ongoing learning
Beverly’s knowledge made the Kwik Sew instructions a lot more workable. When I first attempted this pattern I put it aside because there were too many variables that I did not understand #noidea.

There isn’t a local bra making workshop so being able to go back through the class steps when I needed them has helped me made this bra pattern work.

My main blogger sewing references are Fehr Trade, kathhhhy, Ms McCall, Sigrid and measuretwicecutonce


After I made these bras I found this pattern freebie page.

Road test
I’ve since worn the lace bra all day: it sits properly; is comfortable to wear; and has been through the wash and come out unscathed.

I’ll only post up future bras posts if:

  • they look amazing or 
  • I’ve used a different pattern or
  • I attempt to sew a sports bra.

So for now, that’s my bra making story.

Mermaid scale fun run

I set a goal to do a 10K fun run. But part of the fun – other than training and eating well – I wondered, I’d love to look like I’m having fun on the day. Hence my mermaid scale print kit using Funkifabrics.


My starting point was Jalie 3247 shorts – with a difference.

I wanted to look ‘fast’ (LOL) so I cut a curve and used the mermaid scale print on the lower leg.

The Jalie shorts length was ok but I needed another 2″ of length to guard against chafing.  I use the test version when I train on the treadmill. For some reason, they’re ok in the gym.
The test version showed me these shorts were ‘short’ at the top and at the leg. So I extended the leg length by 2″.

The curves on the shorts were now where I wanted them. Then I tested these shorts at a boot camp session during the week to make sure there was no pulling/gaping/mishaps ‘while in use’. No problems.

Then the next issue was – what top pattern do I use? A top that I can pin on my racing bid was needed so I used View C with New Look 6160.
From the size chart my test version was size 14. 14 is a comfy summer version but too big at the shoulders and at the bust for what I needed.
Left to right: test vesion, Funki Fabrics blue fish scale print, retro print with bling shoulder feature
The test version on the left confirmed where the shoulder adjustment could be made (on the front seam of the yolk) and how much I need to take out. This pattern has a centre back seam so this is ideal for sway back adjustments.

So I recut this top again in a 10 across the bust and 12 at the waist and hips. I lowered the hem by 1.5cm. And I’m glad I did so you can’t see my tum when I raise my arms:)
this running kit worked pretty well on the day.

The legs kept rolling up at times so after the race I contact Susan of www.measuretwicecutonce.com.au and she suggested adding a cuff.
Front view

back view

Inside view

Of course I wore these again at a 6am boot camp class and the cuff worked. Thank you Susan for your suggestion. Now to test these on a leisurely 10km training run.


Thank you Funki fabrics for this mermaid scale print.

About the fabrics 

Funki Fabrics are a polyester print base and they are also: 

  • Ulta chlorine resistant
  • Pilling resistant
  • Shape retention
  • Two way stretch 
  • UV protective

Read Susan’s activewear post if you want the knowledge of a sewing industry expert on activewear sewing.


Dear Jalie patterns. My niece, her Mum and I love Jalie 3247. My niece wore her Jalie pieces on the weekend and was really happy with them. The fabrics and styles of each set blew them away.
Thank you so much. 

Sew active

Susan from Measure twice cut once has worked in the garment industry all her life. A simple conversation about cycling over dinner became an eye opening discussion about many aspects to sewing activewear from this one incredible lady. Susan is a sewing gem in my books. 

Here’s what she’s happy to share with us about making your own activewear. 

Grab a cuppa and read on…


Active wear – Where to start.

I work out/cycle/do triathlons but I want to make my own gear but sewing lycra is new to me.

Designs:

What basic designs shapes should I choose?

Go with what you already use. If you wear a singlet and tights to run in then go with that. Reason being is you know how those clothes work for you. How long you like your tops so they don’t ride up, how loose or tight you like it across your chest.
This is very helpful if you are learning to work with some of the stretch and lycra fabrics for the first time. If you can try them on and go “oh wow this fits like the top I wear or those tights I do yoga in” then you have a great point of reference to start from.

If you are starting to work out and sew work out wear at the same time, then perhaps pop down to your local sports store and try some RTW pieces on. I may think running shorts are the cutest things ever but they look terrible on me and I feel more confident and secure wearing ¾ tights. That’s being realistic with your needs.

Go with what works for you or what ever will make you kit up and do your workouts. Sometimes cute workout wear is all the incentive we need to get moving! #smallsteps

Where do I find basic patterns to start with?

Sportswear specific patterns can be found at Fehr trade, Papercut patterns, Jalie and even in the big 4 ie Kwik Sew or McCalls.
Fehr Trade XYT top for everyday wear

Think about what you want? High performance for running, swimming or cycling or some tights and a top for walking or getting back into exercise? Choose what is going to suit you and what is going to motivate you to get going.

Fehr Trade XYT top

Also think about a regular pattern in an active wear fabric. Consider the possibilities in the patterns you already use just by changing the fabric. A simple t-shirt goes from a t-shirt to workout wear if you use a moisture wicking fabric like polyester knit. Try a merino jersey or bamboo knit for a natural fabric with many similar properties as a starting point.


Fabric:

Is all lycra the same?

Not all lycra is the same. If you are looking specifically for active wear fabrics look for fabrics that have moisture management or moisture wicking properties. These fabrics have been created to pull the moisture away from you. This keeps you cooler for longer meaning you can work harder for longer.
Kwik Sew 3567 top and McCalls 6404 leggings

Other common treatments in sports fabrics are


Sun protection – has a high SPF factor so you keep protected from the sun. Some super lightweight almost mesh like fabrics can have this treatment so sun protection need not equal thick dense fabric all the time. Be careful as the Sun Protection ratings can differ between countries and standards and it’s not the same as the sunscreen ratings we already know. If you aren’t sure then look it up, far easier than ending up sunburnt after a day out cycling.

Jalie 2796 skort for beach wear
Kwik Sew 2881 rashie

Anti Microbial, Anti bacterial – treated to help keep bacteria and microbes away, Not only high in general ick factor but these little nasties can be the reason you end up with stinky workout wear.


Silver or other metals. Silver has a natural antibacterial property and it can be knitted and woven into fabrics. Most often seen in things like socks it is available in some fabrics.
Fehr trade PB Jam leggings and XYT top

And possibly the biggest one to look out for is that not all-active wear has lycra. Plenty of cycling jerseys, run tops etc have no lycra content at all. They can range from mesh’s, soft knits and even super stretchy knits but don’t actual contain lycra. Non-lycra ones can be less clingy which is a slightly more forgiving look and depending on which weights are available to you can be cooler or more breathable.


If I want long lasting active wear, what should I look for in workout fabric? –

Long lasting active wear is not only about the fabrics you choose but how you take care of them. Try and get out of anything you work out in as quickly as possible. Warm and damp is a breeding ground for nasties, which will make your garments, smell and in some cases increase the rate in which they break down.

Get out your gear as soon as you can. Don’t ball it up and leave it. If it can’t go in the wash straight away try popping it into a mesh bag. It helps it dry faster, and the airflow will help reduce smell and bacteria build up.

Wash and if at all possible hang in the sunshine.  Be careful about fabric softeners/certain cleaning agents. Some active wear has been pre treated and certain cleaners can strip all of those treatments out of your fabrics.

Look for fabrics that have good recovery, so when you stretch them they bounce back quickly and not misshapen. This is an indicator that it will continue to recover after you wash and wear.

What lycra doesn’t show sweat?
Look for a polyester lycra or nylon lycra blend. Almost all cotton/lycras will show up sweat as the cotton holds onto the moisture, which creates sweat patches.
Look for fabrics that have been treated with moisture management or moisture wicking properties. These fabrics are engineered to pull the moisture away from your body.


What fabric helps keep me cool?

Certain fabrics are actually developed to help reflect heat and keep your temperature down, but for the most part keeping cool is about fabric positioning and layering.

Fabric position can be as simple as using 2 different weights of fabric. Higher heat areas will have a lighter weight fabric or even a mesh insert.

Layering seems counter intuitive when it comes to keeping cool but it works. Take a look at a professional cycling peloton and you will notice that many of the riders have a white singlet on, even on days when their jerseys are flapping open in the breeze.

This singlet is a base layer. Its tight fitting and highly moisture wicking. It pulls the moisture away from the skin allowing your body to stay cool and dry. When worn with a jersey it creates an air pocket between the base layer and the jersey, which helps the moisture, pull quickly to the outside of the jersey and dissipate. This double layer of moisture wicking ensures that the skin stays mostly dry. This feels cooler and more comfortable. Only on the very hottest of days do they go without (there are certain temps and humidity levels where the fabric technology struggles to work).

You may find a base layer works or even that a sports bra and then a top is cooler for you than a top with a built in bra.

Combine layering with fabric positioning for best results.

Are there special elastics I should buy for swimwear, cycling, running gear?

Certain garments are often made with particular elastics, but you can substitute so don’t despair if you can’t find them.

Rubber elastic is often used in swimwear and hems of some tops. Clear elastic is another one you will find in swimwear and some tops.

Cycling chamois from shop of goodies on ebay

The legs of cycling knicks or bibs and running tights sometimes have a silicon gripper on the inside. This allows the hems to stay in place and keep the fabric taught across the body and not wrinkle up. This is important in certain sports, as you don’t want the fabric creating rub points. These rub points can get incredibly painful after many hours and cause abrasions, sores and other problems. If you want silicon gripper but can’t find it take a look for the grip paint you use to paint small children’s socks with (for when they are learning to walk). This makes a decent substitute.

First attempt at sewing on silicon gripper elastic

Try looking at folded elastics for edges, wider soft elastics for waistbands and self-fabric binds and bands. Take cues from what you already know and like. Hate a waistband that cuts into your stomach? Then substitute elastic for a folded self-fabric in a yoga style band. It still keeps your pants up but can be more comfortable. Alternatively substitute a very wide elastic and remember to increase the waistband pattern piece for this larger size elastic.


Are there special zippers I should use?

The zippers aren’t special but there are a few things to consider

– Sportswear zips tend to be chunkier
– The zip pull is either larger, has a tab or special puller added
– Plenty of open-ended zips being used especially if it is an outer layer.

A right royal 6am mess ready for work out wearing Kwik Sew jacket, top and leggings.
All of these are pure function (and a little bit of aesthetics). You need to open your garment while you are on the move, so it needs to be a nice big zip that can open smoothly. You have to be able to grab the puller and just unzip, no fumbling, no looking down and consider that in cold weather or in certain activities you will be wearing gloves so dexterity may be impeded. You need to open the garment and get it off without having to pull it over your head as this would mean you need to stop working out to do this, an open ended zip solves this issue.

– Try exposing the teeth (especially if you can find a nice chunky plastic zip) for a different look.

– Try using zippers with contrast colours to draw in some colour to your clothes.
Activewear can be sewn on a sewing machine. 
What lycra is easy to sew on my standard sewing machine?

Pretty much anything can be made on your standard sewing machine. Use stretch needles and experiment with your stitching types and techniques. Find needles that suits your chosen fabric and achieves a neat, clean look.
Special lycra for activewear

Are there special trims I should look for and use or should I make my own?

Special trims would include things like reflective elements. Reflective trim is made from thousands of microscopic beads. These beads take a light source (like a headlight or street lamp) and reflect it back again. This creates the illusion of glowing and is one of the most effective ways of staying visible in dark and low light level conditions.
All sorts of reflective trims for cycling gear

Colour blocking, where you use more than one colour can be highly effective, look very sporty and use correctly can draw the eye to your strong features and cover up other areas.


Fluoro or Neon trim is very on trend and can really add a pop of excitement to your outfit. Look for piping, tapes or make your own using neon lycras.

If you want to see the most innovative activewear jacket for training at night, here’s a link to Melissa’s jacket.

Keep an eye out for Susan’s classes at Sew Make Create.