Friday, September 28, 2018

Finally, the Beryl Bomber Dress

A few weeks ago, I finally made the Beryl Bomber Dress by Named. It was on my to do list for over 12 months, and I was determined to get this dress made before Bomber styles go out of fashion.

Before I post anything about the dress, an update on why I have not been blogging much recently. The first is that I have become very busy over the last 12 months, and have rather a lot on my work and personal plate.  So blogging has taken a back seat. The second is that the nature of blogging may well have changed.  It seems to me that many sewers now communicate via Instagram.  So I am finding that not so many people read or comment on my blog. This does not bother me per se as I do no need for validation or for being popular.  But I do think that this change in the media landscape warrants a different approach by me towards blogging.  It will become more a record now of my makes and progress and less geared towards comments and communication.

And as it will be more of a personal record, I may only take photos of garments on a hanger, with any notes that are relevant should I wish to make the garment again.  And some of you may like that approach.

(edited 13/10/2018 - you will find a picture of this dress being worn at bottom of post. ).

And that is what I decided to do with this dress, or it would never get blogged at all.

So, the details. This is the Beryl Bomber Dress, by Named:

The dress is a very simple shape.  The measurements and sizing seemed accurate, but it is sized for taller wearers.  I removed length above the waist and repositioned the casing.  I also wanted a longer dress, so I added length at the hem.  I wanted short sleeves as this will be a spring/autumn dress.  I did not interface the knit collar as recommended because I wanted this to stay soft.  I also used a fabric casing for the elastic instead of ribbon as per the pattern.

I made the dress in a cheap craft cotton - I only paid about $2.00 per metre.  So this dress was both my toile and a wearable muslin.  I followed the instructions which were quite straightforward.  The zip was faced so it has a nice clean finish.

This was a straightforward make.  I have already worn it and I know that when I make the proper version it will probably be better in a stretch fabric - I can feel the sleeves will need that.  I have a lightweight stretch wool that would work, but I also need to find a better quality rib knit for the neck - the poly/cotton blends do pill.  As do the acrylic knits.

Until next time....

Sarah Liz 

Edited 13/10/2018 with picture of dress being worn:

Thursday, September 13, 2018

My next Bralette - The Sarah Longline Bralette from OhhhLuLu

I seem to have become fascinated with making little bralettes at present.  Bralettes are quite simple to make, unlike bras, which have underbust casings and underwires, and may well also have power bars and other bits and pieces in order to make them more supportive. Bralettes are a good way to ease into the process of sewing bras though because there is some shared territory - like applying elastic.

A few of you have commented that bra making seems so complicated, but if you start with simple bralette patterns you will start to get the feel of what is needed.  Basically, fabric (bralettes often use a stretch fabric) and elastic.  With lingerie sewing you always use a plush back elastic as it is softer on the skin.  Fold over elastic is also used for edges.

Plush back elastic comes in various widths.  Often the band elastic is wider than the front, arms, back area.  Fold over elastic is often 5/8 of an inch unfolded. You may need a fastener for the back - these come in various widths, so check your pattern. And rings and sliders.  I would suggest looking at a bra to see what these components makes it simpler to visualise.  And of course, thread, a good quality one, plus stretch needle (about 75/11).

This pattern is for a pullover style, so a back fastener is not needed.  The pattern is from OhhhLuLu and I purchased it from her Etsy shop.

image 0

This is the second OhhhLuLu pattern I have used .  I have made up the Hyacinth Bralette  so was fairly confident about OhhhLuLu's sizing.  I also checked the pattern pieces against another bra pattern that fits me reasonably well, and they were similar.

As with all new patterns a toile is always needed.  I tend to make my first run in a cotton/lycra fabric I purchase from Spotlight.  It's called Performance.  It comes in white, grey and black.  I tend to use black because the white is a bit see through - although with summer coming, I will probably start to use the white for my toiles.  This way I can compare fit between different patterns.

I was a little concerned this pattern would not work, but I did what the instructions told me to do.  I did have trouble at the V point of the lower band - I think the fabric was just too stretchy to easily sew this in a sharp point.  Next time I will just stabilise the seam area before stitching. So I had to undo and redo and then I had to go over the seam because it was a bit wobbly!  But I knew the underbust band elastic would hide my beginner's sins.  It did. I also finished my seams differently - I flip and topstitch, and then trim back instead of zig zag finish or overlock finish.  I think my method is just a little stronger if the seam takes a lot of tension.

I did think the finishing of the edges of the underbust elastic was a little underdone - just a zig zag bar tack to secure.  I resorted to my dressmaking skills and overcast the cut edge of the elastic by handsewing.

As you can see from the photo above, the v point wants to sag.  That is the area I want to stabilise next time before stitching.  It may still sag, but the stitching will be easier.

I knew though that an embellishment would make things look good and it did:

The top and front edges of the bra are finished with fold over elastic.  The underbust elastic runs under the cups and along the middle back seam line.  I was a little worried this seam would be quite bulky, but it worked out.  I think though that this fabric is perhaps a little on the thick side for this finish.

The bottom of the lower band is also finished with fold over elastic, but I could tell there was going to be a bit of an ugly area at the back where they would join, so I decided to use a picot edge plush elastic instead.  This worked out well.  There is a little bit of untidiness with my stitching the ends of the elastic at the back, but you don't see this from the outside.  I will work out a way to do this neatly in due course. This was a method I read about in pantie making, but I think it needs refining so that it looks nice too.  Of course, I am using a high contrast thread, which makes things much more obvious.

It looks fine from the outside though...and that is the main thing.  And why did I use a contrast colour for this edge?  I happened to be away and had taken a portable machine with me. I was  working on a underthingie where I wanted to use white picot elastic.  I had put the whole bag of it in my work tray.  I didn't have any black edging, so used this!  I also want to use this elastic up, as it is not a quality I like.  So I use it on my toiles.

I moved the rings to the front of the bralette and secured them by folding the fold over elastic through them. 

The back elastic is just secured, as far as I could work out, on the top edge.  Next time I think I will secure it at the top edge and through the band elastic.  There is just too much tension, I think, on the top of the fold over elastic.

And that's it.  Done.  I am wearing it today, and it is quite comfortable, although I think the side of the upper side cup is a little loose.  I'll tweak this next time I make the pattern up.

Once again,  this is the Sarah LongLine Bralette from OhhhLuLu.

Take care everyone, and bye for now,

Sarah Liz

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Bra Making Continues...Ohhh Lu Lu, Hyacinth version 1.

Once again, it is a while since I have written a blog post.  That's because I have been busy, as you have probably worked out.  I have managed to do a bit of sewing and have made a few bralettes.  I will share them with you over the next few weeks.

I know some of you are interested in making bralettes but have no idea where to start.  Sewing bras andbralettes at first seems rather daunting, because you will come across unfamiliar terms like band elastic, strap elastic, plush elastic, rings and sliders, fasteners.  You probably do  not have a clue what all these are.  Of course, you probably do...I suggest you have a look at one of your RTW bras and you will see all of the above elastics - straps, with rings and sliders, band elastic (bottom of bra) and plush elastic around the armhole, front and back edges.  You may see other elastics instead, such as fold over elastic.  I really wish someone had pointed out just to have a look at a bra when I was trying to understand what all these bits and pieces and elastics were.

There are a number of simple patterns on the market, and there are also a few free patterns available for download. These are quite good to start with, because you start to get a feel for the fabrics, sewing, notions and terminology.

For the bralette pictured above I used the Hyacinth free bralette pattern, by Ohhh Lu Lu Lingerie.


It can be found at

This is a very simple bralette with just a front piece and a back piece.  It is a pull over the head bralette, so no fasteners are needed.  The top is finished with lace.  I cut size 34 (OhhhLuLu sizes for about a B cup), fabric used was a stretch cotton/lycra, lace a stretch nylon. Gutermann thread used for sewing. Fold over elastic for top edge, band elastic and strap elastic. Rings and sliders are clear plastic (they go with anything). Size 75/112 stretch needles and you are ready to cut and sew.

This is my first attempt at this bralette, so it's more a wearable muslin to test fit in this particular fabric.  I tend to use the same type of cotton/lycra jersey for all my first attempts at new bralette patterns - if they use a similar fabric of course.


Sewing was straightforward. I have never appliqued stretch lace onto a stretch fabric before (and just in case you are wondering, I used a cotton/lycra jersey), so I wanted to learn how to do this.  I thought I would make a real mess of it, but I didn't. Amazing!!

The knit is trimmed away behind the lace...trimming and I do not get on very well, but I managed not to snip my garment:

In fact, I am rather proud of how neat this looks!  Beginners luck maybe.

One side seam is stitched and then the top edges are finished with fold over elastic.  The pattern suggests a two step process for this, but I zig zagged the fold over elastic over the raw edges of the bralette in one step. I think this is better, because there is less likelihood of stretching the elastic out too much and making it wavy. This is the first time I have applied fold over elastic, and I didn't find it difficult.  I decided the shiny satin side worked with the lace.

The band elastic is straightforward to apply. Face down first, zig -zag in place then turn to wrong side and 3 step zig zag.  Or zig zag, if you don't have 3 step zig zag. The second side seam is closed with band elastic enclosed in this seam.

The last step is adding the straps.  I altered the pattern here and added the  ringd at the front.  The pattern had the rings at the back.  I just preferred the slightly more airy look that the ring provided at the front - it seemed to go with airy holes in the lace. I just attached them by folding the elastic back on itself, I didn't add a separate bit.

The elastic is just stitched in at the back:

So that is that.  My first little Hyacinth bralette.  It's a low support bralette and not suitable for everyday wear, more for loungewear or sleepwear unless you have a smaller, self supporting cup size. I do.   So I may even wear this in summer when it is very hot. Just for a little support and modesty. I think the slight curve in the centre front of the bra band helps to provide this support a little - just perhaps the slightest cantilever effect.