Tag Archives: sewing

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

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

how to: sew a french seam

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French seams are a very delicate and easy way to add a level of professionalism to your ‘MeMade’ items. This method encases the raw edge of the fabric inside the seam. I particularly like to use this seam when sewing with silks. I’ve used cotton in this example, but there is a silk picture to show you at the end of the post.

 First, you need a 1cm seam allowance to work with. Pin the fabric wrong sides together. This feels very unnatural, and I still have to concentrate during this step. It’s so easy to pick up the fabric and whack the right sides together.

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Sew down your seam 5mm away from the raw edge.

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Being very careful, trim away the seam allowance, getting as close to the stitches as you dare! I usually cut off around 3mm-4mm.

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Once the seam is trimmed, fold the fabric so that right sides are together, encasing the raw edge in the new seamSome people like to use an iron to get a very crisp fold, but I find working the seam out with my fingers is just as good.

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Pin, and stitch another seam, 5mm away from the sewn edge.

That’s it! You don’t have any raw fabric showing, which makes for a very tidy looking seam. Below is a picture of a French seam in silk organza. I’ve pressed this seam to one side to flatten it. I really love how the seam is visible through the sheer fabric.

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This is actually part of a very special dress that I’ve made.. You’ll see more of it in a few weeks time!

Mitty x

how to: insert an invisible zipper

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I’ll admit that invisible zippers used to intimidate me. They give such a professional finish, and I didn’t think that I’d be able to achieve the same results. I had a look around on the internet for tutorials, and found that there are a few different ways to put them in.

After a lot of practice (and plenty of mistakes), I’m happy to say that I can confidentially insert an invisible zipper. Go out and get yourself a zipper foot that fits your machine. I found an adjustable one, and it has made the entire process much easier.

I’m going to show you my most trusted method. Prepare for LOTS of big pictures..

First, you need to iron the zipper. Open the zipper and using a low to medium heat, gently press the zipper teeth as flat as possible. This step makes everything so much easier, so don’t skip it out.

Pin one side of the zipper tape to the right side of your fabric, lining it up with the raw edge. The teeth need to be facing away from the raw edge. I like to start pinning the zipper a few mm’s away from the neckline. This makes finishing the zipper much neater, but we’ll get to that later. Pin the rest of the zipper tape down.

Now for some sewing. Baste the zipper to the fabric. This first row of stitches doesn’t need to be up against the teeth, so pick a point a few mm away from the teeth. Take out the pins as you come to them. This row of stitches won’t be seen, and will stay in your garment.

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The basting stitches make the next step a lot easier, as you don’t have to worry about pins getting in the way. Place the zipper so that the machine needle is coming down as close to the teeth as possible. You don’t want to pierce the teeth at any point, so just take it slowly.

In the picture below, you can (just) see both rows of stitches, the one on the left is the basting, and the one on the right is the finish.

Repeat these steps on the other side. I find the easiest way to line everything up, is to do the zipper up a few cm’s, and from the wrong side, pin the seam allowance together matching any notches in the pattern. Then you can pin the zipper and fabric together where they naturally fall. Sometimes this method is out by a few mm, but never enough to really matter too much.

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Now you need to finish the top of the zipper, which will look something like this:

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Open the zipper, and on one side, fold the top of the tape over at an angle.

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Take the facing/waistband and pin it to the zipper tape, with right sides of the fabric facing each other. This is where that few mm near the neck line come in handy. By pulling the facing over the zipper, you get a very clean finish.

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Sew the facing to the zipper, making sure not to get too close to the zipper teeth. The zipper-pull needs to be able to slide up the back of the tape, without getting caught in the facing.

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Chop off the bit of zipper tape that hangs out, and turn right side out.

Repeat on the other side.

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Last step! Finishing the bottom of the zipper into the seam. With the zipper done up, pin the seam together, matching any notches in your pattern. Fold the zipper tape so the raw edges of the fabric are level, and insert a pin in the seam allowance, just below the point you stopped sewing the basting and final rows.

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Still using your zipper foot, start sewing close to the zipper teeth (which are encased in the seam), just above the point you stopped sewing the basting and final rows.

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Finish sewing the seam. The beginning of this seam is usually more than my normal 1cm seam allowance, sometimes 1.5cm or even 2cm. Once I’m past the zipper, I gently slope my seam back down to 1cm.

Give everything a good press with your iron, and that’s it! Perfectly flat, and seamless!

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I hope this has been of some help! Remember, this is my preferred method, but there are plenty of other ways to put your zipper in, if this seems too complicated.

Mitty x

boobytraps workshop

For all the time I’ve been sewing my own clothing, never did it cross my mind that I could make my own bra. When it finally did cross my mind, there were a few things holding me back.

  1. Far too complicated, with under-wires etc
  2. Too fiddly, it looks like so many different, small bits..
  3. I don’t even know where to start with sewing elastic!

I did what any normal person would do, I started researching. What I found was much different to what I expected. There is an entire online bra-making community! Everyone is so lovely and informative! I’ll link some of my favourite blogs at the end of this post.

During my research, I started looking for suppliers of bra bits. There are heaps of online stores, but what I really wanted to find was somewhere I could go and actually look and touch the laces for myself. That’s when I found Boobytraps.

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Boobytraps are primarily an online store, however they do open to the public on Thursdays and some Saturdays. They have an amazing range of laces, elastics, and patterns. I was so excited to see that they also hold bra-making workshops! I signed up straight away!

I chose to make an under-wired, soft cup bra. All of my RTW (ready to wear) bras are the padded, molded cup variety, I was really interested to see if I’d find a soft cup comfortable.

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This is my finished bra! Was it difficult? Not really. Was it fiddly? Hm, a little bit, but not enough to turn me off making more! Is it comfortable? Absolutely!

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Under the guidance of our teacher, Lynn, we learnt the importance of lining a bra (none of my RTW bra’s are lined..), how to fully encase the seams to eliminate the itch-factor, how to insert under-wire casing, how to sew elastic properly… the list goes on! The workshop was totally worth the cost for the tips I learnt alone, not to mention the fact I walked away with my very first me-made bra!

 I decided to go with a light coloured kit, so I could really see what I was doing. The kit came with everything I needed to make the bra, including these gorgeous detailed elastic straps! So pretty!

I highly recommend these classes, but you do need to have a bit of stretch-sewing experience. I also took along my own sewing machine, stretch needles, silk pins, scissors and measuring tape.

Now to my favourite bra & lingerie blogs!

  • Visit Maddy at Madalynne for some truly ethereal, lovely lingerie inspiration/tutorials.
  • Erin at The Emerald Studio is incredibly talented! She even delves into the finer details of bra making, which I can’t get enough of.
  • Amy from Cloth Habit is the designer behind the Watson Bra pattern, which has a cult following. It’s a gorgeous little pattern, which you can purchase online.

I think I’m addicted to bra making. I’m OK with that!

Mitty x

the gift of fabric

I love thoughtful gifts, both giving and receiving them. My gorgeous friend, Nicole, gave me a very thoughtful Christmas gift, a lovely piece of fabric, and I instantly knew what I was going to make from it.

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This is a fairly thick cotton, and I’m 100% certain that it was a curtain at some stage. Seeing as I wasn’t sure where it came from, or how colour-fast the print was, I popped it in the wash. It came out looking just as lovely as when it went in! I’m so glad the colours didn’t run.

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The print is amazing, it’s so retro, and I just love it. I wanted to get one of those big flowers on the front of the dress, so that took priority while placing my pattern pieces.

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I’m using a self-drafted pattern, which is a basic shift style dress, with short sleeves, and minimal shaping (being bust darts). I’m also using a facing for a clean neck line.

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The dress came together very easily, finished in one afternoon! I don’t mind the slightly doubled-up pattern on the back, it was a necessity for getting that large flower on the front.

I’m very pleased with my new dress, and can guarantee that it will get a lot of wear. I’ll even be able to get away with it in cooler months, with tights and boots!

Thanks to Nicole, for such a thoughtful gift!

Mitty x