January 29, 2017

Simple stripes...

... with a little twist. 
I can't believe I didn't get round to blogging about this all week! E took these pictures a full week ago. However, I've been busy and I have had a cold so I'm not going to blame myself.
This is The first thing I wanted to show you (I'll write a separate blog post about the skirt later this week):

A simple long sleeve t-shirt made from the red-and-white striped fabric I used before
In that first top, I got creative with unusual pattern shapes and the direction of the stripes. This one is much more normal. A simple, fairly close-fitting top with raglan sleeves. And matched stripes, of course.

It's only with those sleeves that I tried to be a little bit clever: Along the raglan seams, the sleeves are gathered a bit and I have used some satin-edge lingerie elastic as piping on those seams.

Fellow pattern makers may know that if you take a normal sloper with a set-in sleeve and make that into raglan sleeve, you end up with a dart where the shoulder seam was. You can sew that dart or eliminate it in the way which is usually used for sportswear, essentially taking away the sleeve head and bringing the sleeve up to almost a right angle to the bodice. Here, I have slashed the raglan pieces and folded the dart closed, creating room for those gathers. I could have added extra length to make the effect more pronounced but I only added a little bit. 

It may not be the most exciting top but I think it will serve me well. 

January 19, 2017

A new bra!

It is kind of finished... I may add shoulder straps later if I manage to find the right kind of elastic in the right colour. I have nice edge elastic in this sage green but so far, I have not been able to find a good match for straps.

Unbelievably, I bought this lace as far back as four years ago (which I found out thanks to my old blog posts). I found it at my local haberdashery store (the one owned by the same people who run my favorite market stall). They sometimes carry lingerie lace and some elastics but they don't have all the supplies. I found some matching lycra, underwire casing and satin edge elastic when I visited Kantje Boord with Melissa but I didn't find anything for shoulder straps.
Using those supplies, I panties using Melissa's pattern, my first attempt at a self-drafted bra (which didn't really fit), a self-drafted pair of panties (using instructions from an excellent website about drafting lingerie patterns which has since disappeared from the internet) and a second, better bra.   

I have worn the panties and the second bra. However, thanks to the improvised shoulder straps and not-so-great choice of material for the cup lining, the bra was never really nice to wear.

So now, after all those years, I have made another one. This time using cut-and-sew foam for the cups. There's actually no lycra fabric at all in this bra. There's a bit of that left and I hope I will be able to come up with a design for panties which uses up every last scrap of lycra and lace (my normal go-to patterns won't work, I already tried).
Over the years, I've come to like this bra design: Horizontal cup seam, sewn foam, all lace on the outside. I have adjusted the fit and shape slightly over several versions. For example, I have abandoned the recommendation from my lingerie pattern making book to raise the center front on a strapless bra by 1 cm. With my cup size, there is really no difference in the level of control whether I do that or not and the look of the bra is much nicer with the slightly lower center front (more curved). 

I used grey underwire casing and a grey closure for this bra. The colour doesn't quite match but it doesn't bother me in those places. I have grey shoulder strap elastic but that really didn't look right...
Oh, and so far, I've always topstitched some tape or bias binding to the raw edge of the foam cups but this time I stitched it to the outside and sewed the inside by hand. I hoped this would give a smoother finish and it does. It is by no means a "normal" lingerie sewing technique but if it works?!?
All I have to do now is come up with that panty design...

January 17, 2017

Some replies

Actually, I don't have time to write a blog post right now, but I wanted to reply to some comments I received earlier (and I don't want to wait too long with that):

Jane M, although I recommend the webshop for lingerie supplies I mentioned in last week's post, if you are going to Amsterdam, there is a better option: Go to Kantje Boord! This is an actual store in Amsterdam, filled completely with fabrics and notions for sewing lingerie. The staff is very knowledgeable too.  
I've been there three times and every time I'm impressed with what's on offer. My blog post about the time I went there with Melissa is here (and it includes pictures!).
The link to the store goes to the "contact" page on their website. The website is only in Dutch, but the address is in big letters on that page. It is located in a shopping street in a residential neighbourhood, away from the cities tourist attractions and main shopping district. Easy to reach by car(rare for Amsterdam, there is free parking along the streets there), tram 13 or bus 69 (when using public transport, get out at the stop called "Burgemeester van Leeuwenlaan).

And to any readers here in the Netherlands: If you happen to spot me buying fabric or bouldering/climbing, feel free to say hello. (the first happened to me once, at the market, it was a nice surprise). I'm always happy to talk sewing ;)


January 13, 2017

Something sporty again!

One of the things I made in that bit of extra sewing time I had around New Year was a new sports top. The ones I made before were all sleeveless (in fact, they only had thin shoulderstraps made from lingerie elastic...) and although there is heating in all the climbing gyms I go to, it definitely a bit colder in winter. So, I wanted one with short sleeves.

Here it is in action at bouldering gym Kunststof (website is only in Dutch but there are some more pictures of the place) in Leiden:

To show the t-shirt properly, I've also made some pictures of flat on the table (not very good pictures, but they clearly show the details):

I used the pattern I made for my favorite climbing jacket. Princess seams, no side seams, raglan sleeves. I just cut it a tiny bit narrower. 
I had planned a sort of slit at center front which is why there is a a center front seam. In they end, I sewed it up entirely to get an easy-to-finish neckline. The slit would not have been particularly useful anyway...
The blue parts are made from the same textured sportswear fabric I have used for climbing tops before. The red at the sides is cotton jersey, the edges at the neck and arms are fold-over elastic.
It performed well on its first outing although, looking at some of the action pictures (not the ones I showed here, more boring ones in which I am holding the top hold), I wonder if I should lift the sleeves a bit. Maybe that would make it pull up a bit less when I lift my arms high... Not that I am under the impression that any garment could stay perfectly in place under such circumstances!

January 8, 2017

Lingerie supplies

A couple of days ago, the supplies I ordered from lingeriestoffen.nl arrived. There are lots of webshops which sell lingerie supplies but I have been a fairly faithful costumer of this one ever since I found out they list all dimensions (not just the theoretic cups size, not just the length but also the diameter) of their underwires. I generally prefer to by sewing supplies in person but the nearest store which stocks a lot of lingerie supplies is in Amsterdam, which isn't really close enough for regular shopping trips (which might be a good thing...).

The main thing I needed were rings and sliders for the shoulder straps but when I was ordering online anyway, I decided to add some nice lace as well. And edging elastic and wide strap elastic and the hook-and-eye closures for the back.

Oh, and these. Metal suspender clips!

Of course, all suppliers of lingerie supplies have lace in all the colours of the rainbow but I have found out that I mostly wear back bras. So, I focussed on the black laces.

This is the one I have bought before. They still stock it and it is lovely but I still have a bit left so I didn't order more.

I did buy this simple, more graphic design. I think it will look beautiful layered over beige foam for bra cups and it should work well for panties too.

And I couldn't resist this gorgeous floral design. It's a bit big and has more colours than I would usually pick but it is very beautiful...
I'll need black foam to use under it though, and I just found out I'm all out of that too. So I will probably let this lace wait for a while. I'll make some other bras for which I have all the supplies and order black foam later, when there is more stuff I need.

Oh, and here is something I ordered to try out: It's hard to see in the picture but this is polyester boning which comes in a soft plush casing. It hope it will work much better for a longline bra than my own combination of polyester boning for regular clothes covered in velvet ribbon. 

So, at the moment I'm working on a new bra, using some of my old supplies. I had realized that some of the fit issues with my longline bra were based on a difference between the shape of the underwire and the underbust curve of my pattern. So I've tried to change that. This is test version based on the shape of the wire. I hope it will work!

January 5, 2017


Although I didn't have anywhere near as much sewing time as I had hoped in the past week and a half, I did manage to make a few little things. When it comes to showing them here, I'll start with the smallest:

New panties! 
Black lycra and lace. The pattern is Melissa's Lacey Thong (at the top of the list on her "downloads" page after the link) with several alterations for personal fit and style. I have made it several times before and gradually made those changes over several versions to make it suit me. 
There is one new thing I've done here: I used narrow stretch lace for the waistband instead of normal lingerie elastic. I really like the look of the "double lace". Kind of opulent and delicate at the same time. It may not last as long as a normal waistband but it is pretty and, being softer an wider than the usual stuff, it doesn't cause lines. 
Oh, I did cut this stuff a little bit shorter than I would the normal lingerie elastic. It much softer after all.

I really wanted to make a new bra too but I still didn't have any rings and sliders. So, I ended up ordering some new lingerie supplies. When they arrive, I have some more plans...

January 4, 2017


Happy New Year everyone! I'm wishing you all health, strength, inspiration and joy in 2017. 
I've read a couple of end-of-year posts on other blogs, and a few with New Year's resolutions. I never make a lot of those, it feels too much like setting myself up for failure. I sometimes have plans though...

For me personally, a lot changed in 2016, mostly things to do with work and other hobbies. Since September, I've been teaching and that obviously takes a lot of my time. I have also continued with the other hobby which started to make its mark back in 2015: Rock climbing! Which now also includes a small part-time job at a local climbing gym. 

I think my most interesting achievement this year was this:

Actually getting into real outdoor climbing (living in a completely flat country, nearly all Dutch climbers start on plastic). 
E and I are now sufficiently experienced to go climbing on real rock by ourselves. And we met some very nice people while we were learning.
I did most of my climbing in clothes I made myself though ;)
The blog post about the jacket with the stripes is here.

This is also true for the things I wear for indoor climbing, although I really should make some new trousers for that. 

Although all that stuff really cut into my sewing time, a lot of it didn't happen until the second half of the year. Although I didn't really do any major projects last year, I really well on my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge in the first few months. There was some 1950's stuff, including this blouse which you can also try and make because I shared the (translated) drafting instructions from a Dutch sewing magazine from 1952 here.

I also managed to make a successful (late) 1920's dress:

and tried this design from the early 1940's.

For 2017, I hope to get back to a bit of a sewing and blogging routine. I don't plan on writing when there is nothing to say. However, with me getting used to my new work and sport rhythm I should be able to also find enough time to make some nice clothes and tell about it here.