Finished Knits

Can Anybody Find Me: Love Note Sweater

September 20, 2019


Thought it was about time I'd share the finished Love Note sweater. You'll have seen me posting progress shots of the sweater earlier in the summer. The pattern is by Tin Can Knits and came out earlier this year, in May. When the pattern was published and making the rounds on social media I found myself in a massive knitting rut (and all around crafting rut tbh). I wasn't knitting much and when I was, I wasn't enjoying it. In the midst of all of that I found myself curiously attracted to this pattern.


On the face of it, if you'd line up ten random knitting patterns this one would probably be my seventh pick to knit. The speckles and mohair, slight balloon sleeves, the lace. I have a pretty good idea what I like to knit and wear these days and it usually doesn't feature any of these things, let alone all of them combined. While I feel that I can be a bit (or very?) predictable in my pattern choices because of that, I mostly don't mind because I like what I like and that's fine. That said, I don't think it hurts to try something different once in a while, and while I don't think this was the source of my knitting drought, I didn't have much to lose from trying something out of left field. And you know what, it might have helped a little bit? In general I think there is something to be said for knitting a project with a lot of plain stockinette when you are in a rut and you want to keep on knitting a bit.


I had these skeins of speckled sock yarn in my stash already, I think I got them at the height of the speckles hype when they where everywhere and I got caught up in the enthusiasm. It was lingering in my stash as I had long come to the conclusion that despite using a skein for stripes in a shawl, I wasn't going to make a fully speckled garment. I had seen them used knit together with a solid yarn in other's people projects though and figured that might be a way for me to use up the speckled yarn in my stash.


The technique is called colour blending, and it's a fun way to play around with colours. Tin Can Knits did a great post on colour blending for this project, but it is useful for any kind of blending you'll want to do in your knitting and I found it inspiring. Because I wanted to use the speckled sock yarn I had in my stash, the direction I wanted to go in was defined already, but it still left room to play with colours combinations. In the end I decided to pair my light blue sock yarn -with speckles of orange, yellow, neon, green and black- with a intense dark green mohair. The end result was the green blend of colours you see on the photos.


I didn't change much to the pattern, apart from making the sleeves full length, and adding some sleeve shaping. I decreased the number of stitches, but not as much as I would do for a regular sleeve to retain a slight bit of the bubble sleeve style that the original has. I wasn't sure whether I was going to have enough yarn for full length sleeves, because I had just about enough sock yarn to make my size as stated in the pattern. After I knitted the body I weighed the yarn I had left, and then again while knitting and after I finished the first sleeve. This way I knew I was going to have enough to finish the pair. In the end I even had a bit of the sock yarn left, so that worked our fine. 


It was a speedy project, because of the big needles and the cropped length that I picked, and could probably be speedier than what I did if I had been more into my flow. There is also a lot of room for making it your own by going all out with a bonanza of colours or keeping it a lot more toned down with beige or grey tones. As with all Tin Can Knits patterns, it comes in a huge size range, from new born to adult sizes. so there is the potential of knitting one for everyone knitworthy person in your life. So, if anyone has a mind of doing some sweater gift knitting I'd say this would be the perfect project!


This was the first time I knitted with kid-silk or mohair and the main thing I learned from knitting with it is that my cats love it! This is the part of the post in which I'm giving you more information about my cats than is interesting for anyone, really, but of course I'm going to do it anyway. Now, my cats tend to love all knitted fabric (they definitely picked the right house to live in) but it was still a surprise to see their mohair dedication! Usually their ultimate favourite yarn is lopi which doesn't exactly compare to mohair. I think part of the attraction to them was the combination of the mohair with another yarn and the thick needles, creating a very soft and puffy fabric. So this sweater (and future projects of this type) definitely has the cats' blessing. 


The photos were taken on one of our walks this month, with the heather in full bloom it made for quite a spectacular backdrop. It was my first time going out to take photo's of my knitwear in my new neighbourhood and I wasn't quite sure how it was going to go in my new stomping grounds, but between having these scenes in walking distance and doing the usual pause when a group or runners comes by I don't think I needed to worry much. In the photos I've paired my Love Note with a home-sewn dress in double gauze, perfect for the hot-cold weather that day! 


 I surprised myself with this cast on, and I'm also surprised at how happy I am with the result. There is definitely place in my wardrobe for this type of project. I feel the green tones gives it a solid enough look, but at the same time the happy speckles make it spark and also opens up the possibility for some sneaky matching, like I did here by pairing it with an rust orange dress. It was nice to experiment with some things that I normally wouldn't go for. In terms of yarn choices, but also in terms of garment shapes, such as the slight bubble sleeves. In my earlier knitting years I knit a lot of cropped styles, but recently (until I made Love Note, and then instantly cast on Argil) haven't done anything with that length. This sweater has reminded me that it is in fact a useful length and fits well in the style of things that I like to wear. So all in all, I would say that this wild card project that I never would have foreseen me liking so much was a roaring success. How nice is it when that happens??


Finally, I cannot think about this jumper without my mind wandering to some of the not so straightforward meaning attached to it. This is the project that finally got me out of the worst of my knitting rut. It didn't get me back to where I was before aforementioned rut, but it did get me back on a level I am content with. I said this a couple of months ago on instagram, but I certainly don't think that you loose your identity as a knitter (or sewist or any kind of crafter) if it's not working out for you right now, or for any period of time. I also don't think you need to be churning out projects at all time to qualify as a maker. But it does suck if you miss it and nothing you try to get back into it works out. I feel that more than any other project I did this year, this is the one that got me back to where I am now. The reason why this one did and others things I tried didn't work out have probably nothing to do with any of the projects I did and there is likely a multitude of factors that got me to where I am now. These things are not neatly put into boxes, or black and white situations. But it does add some symbolic and sentimental value to this particular piece of stringed together yarn that I made. And I'm grateful for the ride we have been on.




Purple Days

September 11, 2019


I've been spending a lot of time outside these past few weeks; the end of August and beginning of September is such a great time for it! You start to see the first signs of the changing seasons. Most days we still reach around 20°C but the mornings and evenings are decidedly colder. The heather is in full bloom, and while the leaves in most trees are still green and haven't started to turn yet you can see some early blooms of yellow and orange here and there. Signs of what is to come. Autumn is, of course, the season that has my heart and I enjoy witnessing the in-between time of the changing seasons. 



I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the photo's I took these past weeks to see how my side of the earth looks like in these end of summer, early autumn months. I sure enjoyed seeing it change week by week.


 

 

 It seems fitting that on the final day of August I finished my Argil tank top, and with that the last of my decidedly 'summer' makes. With the start of the shifting season I feel my make mood shifting as well. This is why I haven't cast on for a new project yet. I have been taking my sweet time seeking out inspiration and trying to make my make plans for the coming months. Let's see what it will bring!






 

bra making

Third time lucky - Harriet Bra

August 10, 2019



Hi all,

It's day 10 of #BRAugust2019 , a month-long instagram challenge for Bra makers. Every day has got it's own prompt, and the tenth prompt is 'most worn'. Preparing for the challenge, I realised I never even showed the bra that would become my most worn, so today I wanted to tell you about the third bra I ever made! You can read my experiences on making my first and second bra here. For this third bra I built a lot on what I did in those first two attempts, so you might want to read them in full to read exactly how I got here, but as a summary: my first attempt was a great experience to get to grips with the techniques of bra making and to get a feel for all the bits and pieces and how a bra comes together... but it did not fit at all. My second attempt was a lot better, and was actually wearable but definitely still needed some fine-tuning to get a better fit.

I stuck with the same pattern that I used for my first two bras: the Harriet bra by Cloth Habbit. I used stretch lace as outer fabric and sheer cup lining to line the cups, bridge and outer bridge. My preference is for lining in a matching colour to the lace, but this pale beige was what I had on hand and in the end I think it looks pretty neat.

The changes I made from my first yellow bra to the second red bra were all changes in line with the provided pattern, but for this third bra I knew I had to start drafting some adjustments to the actual pattern pieces. This a bit daunting but also exciting! Before I did this I did quite a bit of reading online on pattern adjustments for bras and I leaned heavily on Cloth Habit's Bra Making Sew Along. This sew along doesn't follow a pattern but instead is a general sew along for wired bras and covers some of common adjustments for bra patterns. 


 Bridge 

 By going up two cup sizes for my previous bra I pretty much got those to fit perfectly but I wasn't happy with the fit of the bridge. As in, it fits flat against my chest (the key to a well fitting bridge/bra) but it is really too narrow for the amount of space I have there. Consequently, my most important adjustment was to alter the bridge.


I did this by cutting the bridge pattern piece in half and then adding some space in the middle. I added even width across the entirety of the bridge, although you could also make it wider at the bottom and keep the width at the top the same. I looked at some of my other bra's to make a sort of educated guess as to how much I wanted to add. The bridge width varies a lot with bras and it was good to look at what I had and make a real assessment as to what my preferences are. In the end I added quite a bit and the bridge I ended up with is wider than both bras I made previously. Looking at the photographs  of the red and yellow bra you see some overlap of the wire channelling, whereas with this bra you see there is some room to spare in-between the channelling.  

Band

Another adjustment I made is to add a bit of length to the band. It wasn't terrible in my red bra, but it was tight enough to get a bit uncomfortable when wearing for a longer time. I again cut the band pattern piece in the middle (you can't just lengthen the piece at one of the ends, because you want those proportions to stay the same). So I just cut it in the middle and then spread the two pieces and then traced a new pattern piece. I kind of eyeballed the new length, again by looking at some of my other bras. 


Experiment

Another experiment I did for this bra was using different bra wires for the two cups. I wasn't going to mention it here, because society has created this weirdness about things that are off from its imposed standard, particularly regarding women's bodies, and I am not immune to that. But maybe that is precisely why I should talk about it? For myself there are a lot of things which I wish someone had told me about breasts before I figured it out myself. I remember the first time I saw an anatomical drawing of the mammary gland and thought it was wild that I had never seen one in my biology lessons at school.

Turns out that a size difference between a person's breasts is pretty common, or to be more precise every woman has it, though not for everyone it's to a point that you actually notice. When I researched this on the net I didn't find much. The things I did find only focussed on how to camouflage unevenness or how you could remove it altogether (via surgery). In the bra making world I haven't seen much solid info about it either. I have seen one bra on instagram that was made for a client whose breast had a height difference and where uneven, and it honestly is one of the most radically empowering things I've seen on the internet. So that inspired me to experiment with using two different wire sizes in one bra.

My initial thoughts on this experiment were very positive, as the result seemed almost perfect when trying on the finished bra, but after wearing it more and for longer time periods the smaller wire starts to dig more into my skin and it becomes a tad uncomfortable. So for my next bra I'll use the bigger wires on both cups again and see how how that wears for longer time periods. In any case, it was great learning experiment and I might go back and redo the wire on the one cup if that turns out to be the better way forward.


The fit

After all that you'll be wondering if the fit is indeed any better than in my previous bras and the answer is a resounding yes. I think this might actually be the perfect fit or as close as perfect fit as I'm going to get (for now at least, it's crazy how much and how fast bust changes!). I'm particularly pleased with the bridge fit, and I think my experiment with wire sizes is easily repaired without having to redo the whole bra. Before I'm making any definite conclusions I want to wear her for a bit longer yet, but for now it's suffices to say that I'm pleased as a punch that the best fitting bra I've ever owned is handmade by me.

It took me three bras to get there and I got some comments about that from people feeling sorry that my efforts weren't rewarded with my previous two attempts. I wanted to address that briefly, first and foremost I definitely get and appreciate the sentiment and message behind it. These are my first attempts at bra making though, and I really never had any expectations of my first effort being perfect. I learned a ton and  it feels like I did a crash course in bra making and fitting and these are things I can use further along the road when I try other patterns. So really don't feel sorry for me, I definitely don't feel sorry for myself!


Photo Woes

Continuing my series of documenting my photography woes here is the latest instalment. So at my previous place I had these wooden ceiling beams, where I hung my handmade bra's to photograph them, my new place doesn't have this so I had to figure out a new way to photograph them. I first tried to photograph them by hanging them on a cord spanned between my fridge and my cat's scratching posts. Those photo's didn't look like anything. Then I tried some more flatlays but I wasn't really feeling those either. I left it for a few days to think it over for a bit.

My last attempt was hanging the bra on the hook of my curtain rail in my balcony door opening while I was standing on a chair to photograph it. Yes, really. I undoubtedly made a stellar impression on the new neighbours! I'm still not super happy with the photos but I guess I just have to accept that I never really am with any of my bra photos.  


What's next for me

My plan beforehand was sticking with a pattern until I nailed the fit. Now that I've done so I'm torn between making a couple of more to supplement my lacking bra drawer, or test the water by trying some other bra patterns. I want to do the latter at some point anyway, because I want to try different style lines, bra shapes and fit to get a feel of my preferences. Because of my bust size, a lot of patterns aren't of use to me. They either aren't supportive enough and/or don't come in my size. It was great to see Emerald Erin release the Black Beauty Bra in a wider size range and also see Orange Lingerie state their intent to release an extended size range for their new bra pattern later in the year, after not having done so for a couple of their bra patterns. Apart from these, I'm also interested in trying the Boylston Bra and Marlborough bra. I think the latter might be the most popular bra pattern for home sewists and I'm interested to see how it will compare to the Harriet bra. I will probably take a middle of the road approach and do a bit of both.

Further down the road I also want to experiment more with different fabrics for bras. My first attempt at making a bra was with lycra, and it was a complete disaster. That attempt got binned not far in the process, but I want to try working with lycra again once I've had some more experience with bra making.



So, that's it for now on the bra making front here. Thanks for reading this humdinger of a post! I hope this posts and seeing my progress from first to last third bra will be of some use to other bra makers. On a final note I'll also say that so far in I found bra making hugely empowering and liberating, more so than I expected it to be. It might not be the case for everyone, but if you are a maker that has similarly struggled with finding bras you both liked and fit well than it might be worth a shot taking a chance on making your own!

See you all later,





knitting

Summer Things

July 31, 2019


We're half way through summer and we've just had the warmest week on record in my neck of the woods. We smashed through multiple records, including the all time record on multiple days and if I read one more sensation piece about it that doesn't mention global warming and climate crisis I'm going to be record breaking-ly shouting words at my screen.

Anyway, since it's mostly been too hot to knit or crawl behind the sewing machine the past few days, I'd thought I'd write and ramble a bit about what's going on over here instead, what I'm making and the like. Basically the most old school 2009-vibe blogpost I've done in a long time.


This is my first summer at my new place. Technically, since I've only been living here since March, it's my first time of everything here, but this is the first time I lived anywhere where I have my very own outside space! It's just a balcony, but there is enough space to sit outside, hang my washing or block my knitting -I can't convey to you how absurdly excited I was about this when I just moved here!- and still have some space left for pots and plants to try and grow some stuff. My mum found a bunch of terracotta pots at the thrift store for me in which I've planted some vegetables and herbs. Additionally, I want to plant some bee friendly plants soon and maybe a tiny(!!) patio tree eventually.

The cats of team Treehouse greatly enjoy this new development of having an outside space that is just for them: They particularity enjoy snoozing under the laundry rack, bonding with the plant pots by sitting next to them for hours on end, fighting me to sneak in some nibbles of the zucchini plant and (obviously) looking out over their territory/queendom down below them. We all enjoy looking at the many birds visiting us -although the cats and I have different motivations for this I suppose. I used to live near a forested area, and when I moved I was most sad about loosing easy access to that. I now live near to a river and lake area surrounded by shrub land however, so I'm getting a lot of water birds flying near my windows. The trade-off hasn't been too bad!

 Making

For various reasons, I've really been struggling with making this year. For the most part I haven't been feeling it. I've written about this on a post on my instagram. It's ameliorated somewhat since then, and I've been able to get a few stitches on my needles and a couple of hours behind the sewing machine here and there most days. So I'm hopeful of possibly starting to see the end of that period.


Knitting

Still, I think it'd be nice to have a quick look at what I have been making and working on recently. If you follow me on instagram you will have seen me working on some of these already. I will update my Ravelry page later this week in case you are interested in yarn details and such. Most are still in the works and will likely get a post of their own when I finish.


Love Note

Love Note by Tin Can Knits was a bit of a wild card project for me, with the mohair and speckles, bigger needles and no colourwork or cables. This is possibly also why it worked out so well for me and turned out to be a great success. This is the fasted knit I've had in a while (cropped length and needle size 6 will have helped!) but more importantly this was also the most fun I've had with my knitting in a while. I greatly enjoyed picking and blending colours for this knit. I was never a huge participant in the speckled yarn wave, but I think they work out really well for blending colours and I can see myself using them for that in the future again. I love the deep rust coloured sample of this design so I might experiment with blending warmer and deeper colours in the future. 

I cast on for this sweater during the football world cup in June and finished it while working on it while watching the matches. I'll do a blogpost on her soon (i.e. when the weather cooperates and I don't need to stand in an ice bath in order bear taking pictures!). 


Toorie

This one is still a work in progress. It's a colourwork cardigan from Rowan's summer issue of this year. Most of the designs from the issue don't really speak to me, and the cover and feel of the mag in general is possibly the blandest I've ever seen from them, but I like this whimsical take on the all-over cardigan. I cast on for it in April, with the hopes that the twee pattern and straight forward colourwork would get me out of my knitting rut. I have a bit of mixed feelings about the cardigan now. Initially it did get me knitting again, definitely more than I did in the months before, but then I faltered a bit. I'm still knitting on it but slowly. The hot weather we've been having hasn't helped either so I'm going to wait and see how I feel about it when the weather allows me to touch wool again.

I'm using deep stash yarn for this project, which is why the rabbits are so bright blue!


Argil Top

This is my most recent cast on. It is my first foray into summer yarns in a long while and my first time ever knitting an unabashedly summer garment. It apparently takes a week long of high 30's weather and a couple of days above 40 degrees to make me crack and order some linen to make a tank top. It's going to be the Argil top from the latest Pom Pom. I'm really excited to see how this goes!

After having knit with it a couple of days my main take away from this project is that balls of linen start disintegrating on eye contact. Linen can be a bit hard on the hands, but the knitted fabric feels very nice, airy and lightweight. So perfect for knitting in the weather we've been having.

Sewing
I'm currently finishing up a Myosotis dress by Deer and Doe in rust coloured double gauze. This is one of those patterns that really took the sewing world by storm last year and I was curious to see whether the pattern and finished project would meet expectations. I traced the pattern on some of the hottest days of the year we had up until then, a few weeks ago, and subsequently sewed most of it last week when we broke not only this year's, but our all time weather record. I still need to hem it and sew on the buttons and then she is good to go. I'll take photos of her soon and will tell you more about her then.



Braugust

Are you all familiar with #Braugust instagram challenge? It's a month long photo-a-day challenge focusing on bra making and swimwear founded and hosted by Ying from Tailor Made Shop. I haven't participated before, but I remember following along last year. It was definitely a push for me give form to my bra making aspirations instead of continuing to keep them vague far away goals.

Anyway, since I have a couple of bras under my belt now I thought it might be nice to participate. It's been a while since I participated in any challenge anyway and it will be nice to connect with some other bra makers. I can already tell you that I won't be posting everyday and the prompts that I do will be spread over grid and story posts on instagram. I'll also try to get another one of my handmade bras up on the blog this month in honour of Braugust. So I hope you are excited for slightly more bra content than usual from me (and for ghostly floating bra pictures).

Reading

I usually read a mix of fiction and non-fiction, and one of the things I have been reading this summer is Folk Fashion by Amy Twigger Holroyd. I know the book has been making waves among makers and textile fans, so some of my thoughts on the book. Overall I'm enjoying reading it and it has prompted some lengthy talks and discussions with some of the people in my life and that's always a good thing.

I've read about two thirds of the book at the moment of writing this. I particularly liked the parts that discussed the connection between fashion and identity and the choice fallacy of fast fashion and the role of capitalism within that narrative. This is something I regularly think about within the makers community as well, and increasingly so for the past year. I would have liked to see it explored more with a focus on the commercial side of the maker community as well. I know that our craft community is pretty vibrant and changes can happen quite fast, but I'm seeing more conversations around this topic in the making community.



It is the only book I've read that explores personal meaning and identity derived from making and I think some of the things mentioned in the book speak to us all. My main fib with the book is the assumption that whereas in the past societal and affiliations were as good as fixed through gender, race, and class, today's reality is much more fluid and identity more complex consisting of a multitude of meanings. Now that statement in itself is quite open, but then an paragraph later Holroyd states that for most people leisure, lifestyle and possessions have become much more important than factors such as religion. - yeah, I have a lot of problems with such a statement to be honest and speaks of  a kind of privilege that makes you able to say that these identity markers are less significant now. 

My identity as a maker influences virtually every part of my life. This is why I connect to makers online. Yet I also have a lot of personal and distinctly differentiating factors that influence and intersect my identity as a maker that make me different when I go to a craft related gathering. I know this now, and I think a lot of crafters have become more aware of this in the last 8 months, but I also knew this to be true when I visited my first knit group over 10 years ago.

Related to this is that her main knitting group, that is "the foundation of her research" represents a stunningly narrow demographic of knitters. It never explicitly mentions any background other than age and where they live (which fine, because I don't need some arbitrary tick off list of diversity boxes) but I kept looking for things, answers and experiences that would speak for themselves to the differences in experiences. Holroyd herself does mention in the introduction that the demographic is narrow, which is why she supplement them with input from "a knitting tent" which she takes to festivals where people could write their thoughts about prompts on a card. Apart from the limited scope of depth anyone can provide on a small card, this also operates under the idea that festival goers are a broad spectrum of diverse backgrounds which in my opinion is not necessarily the case. The tag cards mostly seem to be included to reinforce the point she was already making (which is possibly another sign that her diverse group of people was not actually that diverse).

I'm open to the possibility of my criticism being addressed further on in the book, but it does bother me. I do think that this is another one of those things that had she written the book in 2019 she would have undoubtedly been more aware of. All of this makes me sound quite negative about the book, but as I said overall I find it thought provoking and an enjoy reading it.


So that my summer so far. I hope you are all well and are enjoying the sense of freedom and possibility these summer months bring.

See you soon
  








A Tale of Two Driftless'

July 12, 2019


Friends, it is cardigan time! I was going to say something about the weather being oddly hot for the last few weeks, but it's now July and we're finally having a few rainy days below 25C. This tells you something about both the effects of climate change in these parts, but also my sense of timing. It is probably the move, but I feel more than ever before that I missed like a good four months of this year.



Anyway cardigans! I made them for that in-between weather where it was to warm to bust out the woolly knitwear, but cold enough for some light layers. The type of weather that we inevitably are going to getting with every change of the season. These were some of the last pictures I took at my old apartment. I debated about maybe taking new ones now that I've been in my new place for a while and the weather has caught up with me, but for nostalgia's sake lets have a last look at these old-in-dire-need-of-a-layer-of-paint walls. To shake things up around here and confuse everyone these were not knitted but sewn, with knitted fabric. Are you still with me?



Ahum yes, the pattern for both of these cardigan is Driftless by Grainline Studio. You might remember that a while back I already made a cardigan from this pattern. I love that cardigan and it is one of my most worn home sewn things. With the success of the Summer of Basics in mind I was really inspired to built on the work I did there and make some more wardrobe workhorses. Since I got so much wear out of my first Driftless, even though the colour is not the most basic out there, I figured my wardrobe could use some in more matchable colours as well.



So I got to work. I started with the charcoal knit and made the striped cardigan a week after. I prefer lightweight knitted fabric for cardigans such as these over tricot fabric but that is just a personal preference. The specifics for both of these are exactly the same as my first green Driftless cardigan; with a straight hem band, and added button band. I made the same size as my first Driftless, I could have gone down a size but then I would've had to retrace the pattern and because the pattern already has so much ease I didn't bother with that.




The pattern is super straightforward and progress on this was super fast. I made the striped cardigan in a day, which is a rarity for me. I always get surprised and a bit of kick how fast sewing with stretch fabrics is in general but this pattern really is a star even in that league. I definitely recommend it if you are in need of a quick pick me up sewing project! It also has massive, super satisfactory pockets and that alone makes it a recommendable pattern.



The striped version has a back seam, this is a uhm... design feature of course. It's totally not there because  a brain blip made me cut the piece away from the fold. Yep. Definitely intentional. I mean, we all like back seams in the middle of our stripes, right? We all want slightly mismatched stripes running around the back of our cardigans, right? Why leave them out when you can have them? I only aim for perfection.  




I didn't hand sew the button band, just serged them on there the way I did all of the finishing on these cardigans.  I did the same for my first driftless and it hasn't bothered me there so I'm calling it good enough for me. I don't know, but for me hand sewing on a project like this is not really worth the effort, might be different for you though so judge for yourself and do as you see fit when you sew them.
 

I'm super excited to have these makes added to my wardrobe! They are definitely more cake than frosting in terms of sewing, and probably not the most exciting makes to make it to the blog, but they expand my handmade wardrobe range and have been worn a lot. It is such a joy to see the amount of handmade items in my wardrobe and wearing rotation expand. I really feel that my new way of approaching sewing in the past year has changed my sewing for the better and I'm excited to see where it will take me in the future!





  

bra making

Adventures in Bra making: Part 2

April 17, 2019



Hello makers,

I thought it was about time I'd show my face here again. I hadn't planned to stay away for 3 months. I had a couple blog post in the works when I wrote my last blog posts, some of which were largely written and I had concise ideas for others. I will briefly relate to you what I've been up to and why I haven't been around here before I move on to talk bras with you (you can scroll on if you are only here for the crafts bit!).

So, after I published my previous post a couple of things happened. On a personal level: I semi unexpectedly moved house. I got the callback and go ahead for the new place in January and then had to prepare for a impending move on short notice. In addition to packing up my life at the old place and prepare for the move in general, the new place was just the bare bones and needed a lot of work like installing the floor and painting all the walls. I got a lot of help from my family but it was still an intense period with lots of work and I was basically a tired dust ball for about 2 months. I'm mostly on the other side of all of that now though and super pleased with the new place. But moving is intense and tiring y'all.


Another thing that has kept me occupied and away from this place is the movement that the craft world has been seeing around racism, privilege and inclusiveness.  It started at the beginning of this year and is still going on. There have of course been call outs and talks such as these before, but I've never seen it on this level in any community I've been part of. Most of it happened on instagram, but there was also a Ravelry thread. If you have missed it, you can read a good article relating the events here, as well as this blog which was started by some of the BIPoC crafters who have been leading the push back against racism.  I participated in the discussion as well, and you can see some of that in my saved stories on my instagram profile and on some grid posts if you want to. This is an important subject and at the beginning of this year I wanted to focus my attention there, which in turn affected the time and effort I spent on here. I've also been reflecting on my own part in this, what I've been projecting, what and who I've been lifting up and where I want to go with my online spaces and my making. That's still an ongoing process. So, that's where I'm at.


The Crafts Bit

Now I thought it would be nice to get back into blogging by talking bras with you.  I finished making my second bra just a bit before my move and it has been waiting to grace the blog since that time. I already told you about the first bra I made here. I started making this bra with working on the fitting issues I encountered there, so you can read my thought on my first bra fit there if you like. 


My idea for my second bra, or sewing strategy if you will, was to start with one pattern and get that one to a perfect fit, or as close to a perfect fit as I could get before I'd start faffing about with other patterns. So for my second attempt at a wearable bra I kept the ingredients the same: I used the same pattern - Harriet by Cloth Habit-, made the same view -view C-, used the same  type of fabric -lace for the outer fabric, and sheer nylon lining-, and the same notions kit for the rest of the bra.

I read that when tackling fit, it's best to make one change at the time. With bras the thing is if you go up a cup size, all the other pattern pieces are altered as well to accommodate for that, so you the fit will be different. The fit issues with my first bra were particularity evident in the cups so I decided to focus on that. So, I went up two cup sizes, but kept the band the same as with the yellow bra.



This lace was a bit trickier to sew, I assume because the lace holes are a bit larger, so the fabric overall was a bit less substantial. I used a stitch starter (just a similar piece of scrap fabric) at times to make the sewing a bit easier. The overall process of sewing the bra was already a ton easier than my first one, because I was more familiar with the steps, material and techniques.


Bra fit

I said before that picking a different bust size has an effect on the sizing of all the other pieces. For this size, this meant that the bridge was a lot more narrow than on the first bra. Not just relatively, but actually in absolute measurements. Likewise, the outer cradle was more narrow. I presumed this was to accommodate for the larger cups, which needed more space.


Overall this bra fits so much better than my first bra, and this one is actually wearable. My second bra is still not a perfect fit but definitely gotten a lot closer. Going up two cup sizes definitely was the right call and the bust fit is close to perfect. I think that with this bra, I figured out my correct wire size, which is a huge win for me and hopefully something that will help me when I go and try out different bra patterns.



I'm really pleased with the fit of the cups and figuring out the wires is a huge deal, however there are some things that I want to change on my next bra. The bridge specifically is too narrow for my taste. One of the positives about the first attempt is that it showed me what a difference a well fitted bridge makes, and I lost that fit in this attempt. Along with the narrower cradle, the band is a bit too tight for my liking.  I can wear it, but if I wear it for a longer period it definitely reaches the limits of comfortable wear.


About the photo's

As a -on the whole not very important, but I'm going to talk about it anyway- side note, this bra was terrible to photograph. I tried on three different occasions to get some nice and clear shots, but don't feel I succeeded. I still lack both the confidence levels and trust in the internet to model the bra myself and I don't own a sewing dummy, so I'm reliant on flat lays or hanging ghost bra photos. The latter was my go to method, because my flat lays never looked like anything (try getting a 3D garment to lay flat) but with this one the cups kept sagging while hanging, dragging down the entire front of the bra, which apart from making it look all weird also blocks you from actually seeing any of the details. I'm guessing I had these problems because the cups are bigger than the yellow bra's, too big to stand up by themselves apparently. I'm not entirely sure what to do about it, for this one I just kept adjusting the bra and took a ton of photos, which sort of works but doesn't make for an entirely relaxed shoot.

In any case, these photo's were taken at my old apartment, where I had these wooden ceiling beams, where I could just hang a ton of stuff on whenever I fancied (such as handmade bras on occasion). My new place doesn't have these, so I'm going to have to figure out something else anyway. I better find out fast, because I've got another attempt at bra making to show you soon.....!


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