Category Archives: Sewing Projects

what’s been happening – an update & spoonflower review

A tumble weed rolls through the Made by Mitty blog… I am very conscious, and annoyed by that tumble weed.

As I write this, I am currently 31 weeks pregnant! 31 weeks has absolutely flown by at an alarming rate. It feels like only a few weeks ago that I was sewing and blogging my Frankenshirt. That little top was the last bit of sewing I’ve done for myself since falling pregnant. For me, the first few weeks were horrendous. I felt so sick, had a constant feeling of nausea, coupled with extreme tiredness, which meant that I could barely function at work, let alone go shopping for fabric.

I started to feel human again around week 14, and found myself wanting to sew. But not for me, for our little Peanut (baby has to have a nickname!). I took this opportunity to try out Spoonflower. For a long time I’d wanted to order something from them, but I just never got around to it. Now I had a solid project in mind, I started to search through the masses of patterns and designs.

I finally settled on this gorgeous peanut pattern by katherinecodega, printed on Spoonflowers Cotton Spandex Jersey. I knew it would take a while to arrive but I wasn’t too worried. In the end, it took a few weeks to turn up, so I wouldn’t recommend Spoonflower if you’re in need of something super quick.

Initially, I thought the fabric was a little stiff, but it softened up quite a lot after washing. I had 1 meter to play with, and I didn’t want to waste a single scrap of it.

I started by making the footie coverall from Brindille & Twig. It’s a great little pattern with well written, clear instructions. I did, however, have a bit of a moment when cutting the fabric, and somehow ended up with the front opening being backwards. All my fault, nothing to do with the pattern!

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All in all, I think this is a wonderful pattern. Once completed, I held up a store bought jumpsuit to compare sizes. I found the the Brindille & Twig newborn size runs a little larger than the store bought one, but I think it’s better for it to be a little bigger than a little smaller.

Seeing as Peanut will be born in Winter, I wanted to make a little beanie to go with the jumpsuit. I used the Coral & Co DIY Baby Hat pattern, and made both the small newborn, and the large newborn sizes.

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I had a decent amount of fabric left over, so I decided to make a bib next. I used this simple pattern from Dana Made It. I decided to make a double layer bib as I thought the jersey wouldn’t stand up to much dribble or puke. I found the softest, most beautiful bamboo double terry from Bamboo Fabric Store to use for the underside of the bib.

Still, there was more fabric to use! I cut out a pair of Just Hatched Leggings and sewed them up.

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While I think this is a brilliant pattern, I also wanted some leggings that didn’t have elastic around the waist. I jigged the pattern a little, and using some grey jersey from my stash, made another pair with a peanut waist band and cuffs.

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With my Spoonflower fabric now resembling scraps more than anything, I managed to squeeze out one more pair of leggings. I made these using my jigged version of the Just Hatched Leggins, but made the waistband and cuffs longer than normal. I can fold these over to fit bub early on, and unfold them when those growth spurts kick in. I think this is called a “grow with me” style.

Folded down…

And folded up…

I’m so happy with all these little makes, baby clothes are so satisfying and quick to make. I’d recommend all these patterns for beginners, except for the jumpsuit, there are a few fiddly elements to it (like the adorable little feet) that are probably a bit advanced for a beginner. But if you’re feeling adventurous, give it a go!

I hope to clean out those pesky tumble weeds and start blogging more. I’ve got a few other projects ticking along that I’ll share with you over the coming weeks.

Mitty xox

when things don’t work out – frankenshirt

Not all of my sewing plans turn out how I’d imagined. It doesn’t seem to happen as much as when I first started sewing, but I still manage to have a #FAIL every now and then. This is how I tried to turn a fail, into a win!

Quite a while ago, I purchased a remnant of 100% cotton chambray from The Remnant Warehouse. It was beautiful and soft, very light weight, and well priced. I noticed a few areas that had faded light damage, but I wasn’t overly concerned about it.

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My first thoughts for this chambray were to turn it into a casual, spring-time dress, with a gathered skirt, semi-fitted bodice, and little sleeves. In my head, it was a thing of beauty. In reality, it was a disaster. I’d put little to no effort into drafting a proper pattern, the neckline stretched out horribly, and the whole thing had a rather unflattering silhouette. Needless to say, I didn’t take any pictures of it.

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This is all that remains of fail #1

After FAIL #1, my next idea was to turn the chambray into a pair of shorts. Light, breezy, spring/summer time shorts. I used a pattern I’d used before, and sewed them up! I was about 80% done, and decided to try them on. Well, I tried to try them on.. they were too small! I couldn’t get them up over my thighs.

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And fail #2

Totally dismayed, FAIL #2 and the scraps sat in my sewing room for weeks. I’d see it every now and then, and felt a stab of disappointment for wasting perfectly good fabric. One day, it got too much, and I decided to fix my fails.

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I seam ripped all the bits apart, ironed them all, and spread them out on my table to see what I had to work with. Not much, is what I was looking at. I decided to sew all the bits together, in a patchwork kind of way, so I once again had enough fabric to make a simple shell top.

Keeping the grain as straight as possible, I started sewing all the bits together, overlocking the seams, and pressing. Sew, overlock, press. Repeat. After a few hours, this is what I had.

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I drafted a simple shell top from my bodice block, made a toile so I didn’t screw up this fabric again, made alterations to the pattern, then cut out from the chambray. The only thing I had to keep an eye on, was the placement of the front, which has bust darts. I managed to avoid having any extra seams going into the darts.

Sewing it together was very easy. I made sure to overlock all my seams to keep everything from fraying. I finished the neck and arm holes with the same chambray bias-binding I used on this stripy top.

After a final press, it was ready to wear!

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As you can see, I added a button closer to the back. I think it works really well, I don’t have to undo it to get it on, however, my binding finish on the split isn’t my best work. Something to practice!

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I just love all the different shades in this top, and the angels of the patchwork seams. All the little bits patched together really reminded me of Frankenstein’s monster, so this project has fondly been named, the Frankenshirt.

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So, what do you think? Did I turn my fail into a #WIN? I think I did, I see the Frankentop becoming a real staple in my summer wardrobe!

Mitty x

sewing basics – wiggle skirt

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Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a 100% handmade wardrobe? Or as close to 100% as you can get! I am a long way away from this dream, and while we all need exciting things to wear (and sew), like party dresses, loud shirts, and coats, we also need basics. I decided to start building my “basics” collection with a plain, unoffensive, goes-with-everything skirt.

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There was a decent amount of Ponti left over from my sleeveless jacket, so I decided to make a wiggle skirt from it. I drafted a pattern from my skirt block, keeping the single darts in the front, and the four in the back. I’ve used a straight waistband that sits on my natural waistline. I find this type of waistband really comfortable, and it nips me in nicely.

Even though this fabric has a decent amount of give, I added a vent in the back, just to make walking a little easier.

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For a really clean hemline, I whipped out a hand needle and thread. This is a great technique to use on Ponti, as you don’t have to finish the raw edged first, there is no way it will fray!

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The skirt is great, it’s very comfortable, and the Ponti is so soft and smooth. However, it is a little boring on it’s own, so we found this amazing rainbow-painted monster roller door backdrop for our photoshoot. Isn’t it great?!

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There are many more basics that I need to sew, but I need to quench my thirst for something fun and patterned first!

Until next time,

Mitty x

A big thanks to hubby, for the impromptu video!

box pleat skirt with netting

Here’s a project that was finished months ago, has been worn several times, but hasn’t made it onto the blog. I have no idea why it’s taken me so long, but here it is!

This skirt started, as many do, while browsing Pinterest. I love a high waisted silhouette, and my “SKIRT” board can vouch for me when I said I’d pinned several versions. I’d noticed that I’d actually pinned a few that had sheer or lacy panels, and so this skirt went from being a vague idea, to “This needs to be in my wardrobe NOW”.

I wanted my skirt to have a lot of volume without the need of a tulle layer or padding underneath. I decided to make a box pleat skirt from a thick Ponti di Roma, which would hold its shape well, and be strong enough to support the sheer panel.

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I bought a swatch of a Ponti that I thought would do the job from Knitwit. I must say, I was super impressed with what turned up. It had a decent amount of body, it was really smooth, and I could just feel that it was a high quality fabric. I bought a meter of it as soon as I could.

Then the hunt began for something sheer to use, and honestly it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. I found this beautiful netting fabric with ribbon detail at The Remnant Warehouse. They must be sold out of it now because I can’t find it on the website, but I remember the tag saying that it was a Nicola Finetti remnant.

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 I drafted a quick box pleat pattern that would sit right on my natural waist. The top portion using the Ponti ends just above my knee, with the netting flowing down to a “midi” length. I think this is a really versatile length, as it looks great with flats, or really classy with heels.

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I used a 20cm invisible zipper down one side seam, so the box pleat pattern wasn’t interrupted.

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The only part of this skirt that was a bit of a struggle, was hemming the netting. I had to hand sew it,  the ribbon sections were too thick for my sewing machine, so pushing a needle through it for 2 hours was a little painful in the end, but well worth it.

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I absolutely love it! It looks great with a casual tee for a dressed-down look, I’ve worn it with a close fitting jumper and tights when the weather was cooler, and I can dress it up with a silk cami and heels. It’s become a real workhorse in my wardrobe!

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 I think I got pretty close to my “pin-spiration”, don’t you?

Mitty x

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striped boxy tee

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As much as I love taking my time with an intricate pattern, I also love the instant satisfaction I get from a really quick sew. This boxy tee happens to be the latter.

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You may remember this striped fabric from my haul last week, and how I said I was going to make a “Molly Top” from Sew Over It. I’m still going to do that, but I was able to squeeze another top out of the fabric with only a few compromises.

This is a self drafted pattern, normally used with woven fabrics, but I thought it would work just as well in a knit. First off, matching these stripes was a real pain! I washed the fabric first, and it must have warped when I hung it out to dry.

Can you add “modifications” to your own pattern..? I turned the straight hem into a curved hem, with the back dipping down a little further than the front. I also added little sleeve cuffs (cut off grain), instead of using a binding.

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As this neckline leans toward a boat neckline, I wanted it to be as stable as possible, and not stretch out over time. I used tear-a-way to secure the neckline, then used a chambray binding that I cut from some scraps. I really wanted to use a patterned cotton for the binding, but the jersey wasn’t opaque enough and it showed through. I do like the chambray though!

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I have only just bought myself a twin needle (can you believe it?), and it’s my favourite thing at the moment! I used it to give the hemline a really professional finish.

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From cutting to wearing, this boxy tee only took me a few hours. I’m really happy with how it turned out, it’s comfy and easy to throw on, but I think the stripes make it look a little more fancy than it probably is.

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Until next time,

Mitty x

sleeveless jacket

What are your thoughts on the sleeveless jacket trend? Sure it looks stylish, but if it’s freezing outside, wouldn’t your arms get cold? I’m not convinced that it’s a sensible option for the middle of winter, but I’m all for the sleeveless jacket in-between seasons!

My friend Nicole came over for dinner a few months ago, wearing her new sleeveless jacket. I (rather unceremoniously) stripped it off her, and got to copying the pattern. The original was made from 100% wool, but I wanted to try it out on something a little lighter.

I bought some really beautiful Ponti from Knitwit Australia and got to making. This Ponti is an absolute dream to work with! Cuts beautifully and sews up really well. I used a stretch needle and didn’t get any of those annoying skipped stitches.

I made my jacket using 2 colours, light grey on the front (which is no longer being stocked), and charcoal for the back.

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This was actually in my line up of items to make during MMMay2016, but I’m pretty sure I finished it in June.

I really love my new sleeveless jacket! It’s perfect to throw on if it’s a little chilly outside. I also love the fact that I didn’t have to do any hemming, as the cut edge won’t fray!

And.. is it a jacket, or a vest? My husband calls it a Mu-Mu, which it 100% is not!

Mitty x

cult hit: white russian

Whoa. Where did the time go? Is it really June already? It’s safe to say that I failed MeMadeMay2016 in regards to blogging about it, and sewing a new item each week (what was I thinking?!), however, I did manage to wear 2 me-made items for the weeks of May. Let’s chalk MMMay2016 up as 45/100, so much room for improvement!

I did actually get one “make” finished during May, and have finally taken a few photos of it. I made the Capital Chic White Russian! The weather in May was actually too warm to wear it (Global warming, I’m telling you!), but now that it’s finally started to cool down, I’ve been able to throw it on a few times.

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First, the fabric. I went to The Remnant Warehouse in Alexandria searching for a lovely fleece-backed fabric. They have a few styles of fleece, but I was really drawn to this beautiful navy. Another plus, is that it is 100% organic cotton! YES! I love fabric that can breath during the winter, but also keep you toasty warm! Be on notice, however, like all other fleece fabrics, navy blue fuzz was everywhere after cutting. I used a sticky roller to pick most of it up, but I’m still finding small pockets of fuzz in my sewing room…

The pattern is simple and easy to follow, however I did grade the seam allowances from 1.5cm down to 1cm. Everything else was put together as instructed. I spent a few hours sewing a subtle diamond pattern onto the front and back pieces. It doesn’t stand out as much as I thought it would, but I like the slight change in texture.

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I’m very happy with my new jumper, it will certainly get a lot of wear over winter. The fabric washes really well (no extra shedding after it’s initial wash), but it does need a quick press with a warm iron before wearing.

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Have you made the White Russian, or any other Capital Chic patterns? I’d love to hear your success stories!

Mitty x

a russian blue called leia

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This is what has been distracting me during the MMMay16 challenge, our new little Russian Blue kitten! She is my birthday present, and I just love her! She is 10 weeks old and was a bit shy at first, but now she is very playful!

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To try and direct her playfulness away from our hands (and the lounge), I decided to make her a few little toys.

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I drew out a very simply pattern in the shape of a mouse, and gathered my materials.

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I gave my mouse a furry tummy for a different texture. Then, I picked out two buttons for the eyes.

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I added a bit of calico behind the eyes for stabilization, then firmly hand stitched the buttons on.

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Next, I took some kitchen twine and made a platted tail.

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I made sure to place the knotted end of the tail outside the stitching line, so if Leia gives the tail a good tug, it won’t slip out.

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I’m anticipating lots of play time with this mouse, so I chose a small zigzag stitch (number 5) instead of a regular straight stitch. The zigzag will be much stronger, meaning less chance of a blow-out.

Once stitched and turned the right way out, I moved onto the stuffing.

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I added a wad of dried catnip inside the mouse. To me, it smells like a herbal tea, but I’m hoping that Leia finds it irresistible!

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I filled the rest of the mouse with stuffing pulled from a cushion, hand sewed the opening up, and added the ears.

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For something different, I put a bell-ball in the pink spotted mouse so it jingles when she plays with it.

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And here she is, killing it! Sorry for the blurry pictures, she just moves so fast! I love having her around the house, she is a never ending source of entertainment and joy! She’ll be making the odd appearance on the blog, so keep an eye out!

Mitty x

my wedding dress

Before I was even engaged, I knew that I’d be making my own wedding dress. It wouldn’t really feel like my wedding if I didn’t. I have a lot of pictures to share, and a fair bit of explaining, so lets get to it!

I started as most brides do, by trawling through the Wedding category on Pinterest. This is a deep, dark, rabbit hole, and if you’re not careful, you will fall down it and never come out! I quickly found elements that I loved, a soft, layered skirt; tiny cap sleeves; lace!

Then, I saw this dress… SWOON! That soft blush-pink colour was so lovely and feminine, I knew I needed it.

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I also tried on a few RTW dresses, just to get a feel of how big I wanted the skirt. I knew there wasn’t any danger of falling in love with a RTW dress and wanting to buy it. By this stage I was 80% sure of what I wanted, and knew I’d never find it in a shop.

I sketched out a few different styles, playing with the bodice and shoulder strap design. The skirt stayed the same with each new sketch.

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Finally, I came to a decision. I would be making a boned, strapless under-bodice, a lace-bodice overlay with small cap-sleeves, and an open keyhole back. The bottom of the dress would consist of an underskirt with a small sweep, and a layered, full circle over-skirt.

With my design nutted out, I called on the help of the most talented pattern maker I know. Monica is an absolute magic-making master, and I honestly could not have created such an amazing dress without her help and guidance. Thank you, Mon, for everything you’ve taught me!

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day – Thanks Monie!

We started with the simple bits, the under-bodice, lace bodice, and underskirt. Then, we tackled the over-skirt. I really wanted something where the layers weren’t too structured, I wanted them to flow and move in unexpected ways. We worked all day on the pattern, and basically came out with something that looked like this:

I know this looks a bit like an egg, but stick with me...

I know this looks a bit like an egg, but stick with me…

We started with a basic, full length circle skirt pattern (which ended up being layer four). The next three layers were created in the same way, where layer three dipped down, I made the same point of layer two higher. A high point on layer two, made the same point on layer one lower. This would give the hem lines of each layer a really lovely flow.

With the pattern (and a series of toiles) made, it was time to go shopping for the final fabric! I bought some beautiful white, corded lace from the same shop I got the bridesmaids dress fabric from. The beautiful ivory silk (for the under-bodice and underskirt), and the white silk organza came from Elsegood Fabrics in Alexandria. The final stop was Tesutti Fabrics in Surry Hills for the dusty, blush silk organza.

With everything purchased, it was time to start cutting! I have never felt more nervous about the first snip! I cut layer one and three from the dusty pink organza, and layer two and four from the ivory organza. I also cut organza bodice pieces to layer over the ivory silk, so the overall look of the dress had a consistent colour.

I managed to sew the entire dress in seven days. I took everything to my parents house over the Christmas break and worked on the dress from 8.30am until 5.00pm, every day. I kept track of what I did each day:

Day One – Cut out base cloth for under-skirt and bodice Apply fusing to bodice Cut out tear-a-way for bodice necklines

Day Two – Sew under-skirt using French Seams Run overlocker around unfinished edges of under-skirt Sew lining bodice (including channelling) Insert boning Pin outer-skirt (pink & ivory) patterns to fabric

Day Three – Cut out all pieces of over-skirt Test French Seams on the organza Cut out organza for bodice Sew all seams of the over-skirt layers

Day Four – Sew the horsehair braid on all layers of the over-skirt

Day Five – Sew over-skirt layers together at the waistline Seam outer bodice Cut out lace bodice

Day Six – Sew underbodice, outer bodice and lace bodice together on front panel Construct the rest of the lace bodice using French seams

Day Seven – Sew all layers of skirt to bodice, leaving the lace and under-bodice free Insert zipper Hand stitch underbodice to waistline

All I had left to do now, was hem the under-skirt (I forgot to take my shoes!) and bead the lace bodice. I spent the nights on the lounge, slowly adding Swarovski beads, tiny seed beads, and chalk white sequins to the lace. It took me a few weeks, but was well worth the effort; it looked spectacular!

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Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

I couldn’t be happier with my dress, it was so comfortable, and I just loved how the sun light picked up the subtle colour differences in the skirt.

I’d also like to say a massive thank you to our photographer, James Day. He was just wonderful on the day, melting into the background to get some of these beautiful shots, but was also very personable and entertaining with our guests. I’m so glad we asked him to shoot our day, I’ll be looking back on these gorgeous pictures for the rest of my life, with a smile on my face.

Well, that’s the last of my wedding-related posts, I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I have!

Mitty x

white & gold bra

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I’ve been bra sewing again! I have a few other sewing projects that I really need to dedicate my time to, but I just couldn’t help myself!

I wanted to play around with the cup style, so I’ve added in a power-band, and I moved the cross seam up a little bit.

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I cut the majority of the cup from a beautiful white and gold lace from Boobytraps. The power band is a medium weigh, white lycra.

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I wanted a much lower cut style than my previous bra, so I took about 4cm out of the cups and bridge. Only after I did this, I realized that I didn’t have any under-wires to fit the lower style. I could have waited, and bought some, but I was being rather impatient, so I harvested a pair of wires from an old bra. I checked to make sure they weren’t bent out of shape, then I drew around them onto a piece of paper for future wire-buying.

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To show how much I lowered the bridge, I put the white bra on top of the pink bra. It’s quite a dramatic difference!

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The back is exactly the same design as my pink bra, and cut from the white lycra.

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I lined the entire bra (except the back wing) with bra tule. I love how it encases all of the seams, it gives a very neat finish.

I wore this bra yesterday, so I could report on the comfort level. OMG it was SO ITCHY! How is that possible? It’s fully lines with the softest tule and it doesn’t have any raw seams!? The only thing I can think of, is that I’m rather sensitive, having worn padded bras every day for the last 15 years. Has this been a problem for anyone else? I hope to get used to it over time, because I’d hate to never wear this bra again, it’s so beautiful!

Let me know if you’ve experienced anything like this, and if you have any recommendation to increase the comfort.

Mitty x