Inspiration Files

Spring Cleaning

Last week I started to catch up on my blog reading and was completely sidetracked by the wonderful Wardrobe Architect series on the Coletterie blog. I’ve been reading others’ experiences in following along and I just knew I’d get sucked into it! Since January, Sarai has been writing on a number of topics on personal style and wardrobe curating.

Over Christmas, I was already thinking it was time to do major wardrobe (and fabric stash) overhaul, so this series couldn’t have come at a better time. At first I wanted to overhaul my closet just to conserve space, but then it became an itch to gesso the entire canvas. I had a free Saturday last weekend, so I went into Spring Cleaning Overdrive and spent a good six hours taking apart my closets from top to bottom.* I even went after my makeup, accessories, and lingerie.

front-of-closet

Before: It’s not that messy, but I really can’t find my scarves in there…. it’s all a jumble.

I purged my closets one other time in my life, before I was married and right before I moved to Europe in my early 30s, but there was no rhyme or reason to it other than that I needed to fit all my belongings into two suitcases. I lost some treasures in the process like my favorite 70s rust color suede jacket with the huge pointy collar and brass snaps.

before-after-closet-purge

AFTER (left): I can see!

I like how Sarai began the series with some very thoughtful and introspective exercises before moving into more practical ones. I’ve always been a big believer that style is a very personal thing, and expresses so much in self image, lifestyle, social dress codes, and cultural and spiritual values, whether intentionally or not. Or it reacts to those things. Digging a little deeper into the “why of you” is such a great place to start.

I’m sort of a 10,000 leagues-under-the-sea personality so I’ve always loved exploring the deeper matters of what fashion expresses. Over 10 years ago I kept a journal about clothing and its meanings, and loved writing into my own style personality, invariably quoting social theorists, Yeats or the Bible as I went along. I wrote about why I was drawn to certain colors and fragrances and what they meant to me philosophically, or how certain landscapes, my religious upbringing, or interest in Celtic history were naturally expressed in my clothes.

celtic-spiral

Celtic knotwork from my old journal. It’s as addictive as Tetris.

So I love to experiment with fashion but I don’t always know what I’m doing. When I first started this blog, I had just read through some personal style books in an attempt to get better at making conscious wardrobe choices. I think it was all connected to turning 40. What I really wished for was a French godmother to teach me all those French dressing tricks–or as I would put it, the non-tricks–to being a woman of a certain age. I pretty much have the non-tricks down with my hair–I don’t fuss with it–but would love to have more of that knowing with my clothes. One of my favorite books was Nina Garcia’s The One Hundred, which inspired me to start the blog with a goal of sewing ten classic pieces.** I ended up making six of them but it also got me thinking–just because I’m turning 40, do I need to start thinking classic? I tried ballet flats and just don’t like them. Am I getting old with the Chucks high tops? (My favorites now are Supergas.)

And then there was climate confusion. My first full summer in Austin was quite a shock. I didn’t know how to dress or groom in this climate, at all. I missed sweaters, coats, layering–and drapey layering is one thing that has always been a part of my personal style. I couldn’t quite bring myself to wear flip flops. It took a lot of confidence and practice to adjust to bearing skin all the time, wearing strappy shoulder dresses, shorts and sandals eight months of the year–and feeling good in those things.

Although my wardrobe has fleshed out with more summer clothes and in the process I’ve discovered my love of billowy, drapey silk blouses and tanks, it’s still top-heavy with the impractical–too nightlife for my lifestyle, too hot for summer, or just plain ill-fitting.

I look forward to re-thinking some of this with my newly blank canvas. Well, it’s not entirely blank. But I managed to whittle down the party dresses to three. And I left myself with no white tee-shirts or tanks. There is a time a t-shirt must come to an end and transform into one of my husband’s motorcycle rags. I’m excited to plan out a thoughtful wardrobe that starts with a few needed basics and then builds into a little capsule collection for summer.

Have you ever done a major wardrobe purge?

*I used this Wardrobe Detox advice as I was picking through everything. Good stuff!

**Wait, I just realized I passed my three-year blogiversary! I’d totally forgotten about my first post.

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Spring Fever & Studio Visit

Hola!

patternmaking rulers

Where does March go? It often feels like such a river of activity. Some of you may know that our fair city turns into almost two cities during South by Southwest (in numbers of people, traffic jams, and restaurant openings). And it is always the same week as my man’s birthday, which also happens to be St. Patrick’s Day. Then there is the nonstop everything-is-greening up and I become obsessed my wildflower garden and keeping the weeds out, which seem to be on steroids this year.

The last couple of weeks I have been trying to catch little snippets of time to sew, for the most part I’ve been using my sewing time deep in the hidey hole of drafting and grading bra patterns (I’m really working on large cup sizes–which has been a huge learning curve but I have the assistance of a very helpful fit model). So I thought I’d share some snippets from my new studio! Wanna see?

studio-peak

On the left are fabrics I’ve dyed for lingerie samples. My friend sold me some bonafide store racks so I could hang and see all the fabrics that were normally squished into a closet.

After a month of begging my husband let me buy this amazing vintage hardware store cabinet. We’ve always wanted an old library card catalog to store “little bits”, and this is the next best thing!

studio-drawers

I was torn about whether to put this at home or in my studio but now I have a place to store all my elastics, findings… or old bras that I keep to either investigate and salvage findings…

And the icing on the cake: a new machine!

my new Juki

You may remember that a month or so ago, I busted my Juki F600 topstitching a pair of jeans. It is still in the process of repair so Derek gave me his blessing to hunt for a new one. At first I was looking for a rental to tide me over, but after spending an afternoon at Austin’s Northwest Sewing Center trying out the Juki TL-2010, I was sold and bought the floor model right off their hands (better price).

my new Juki

This is a straight-stitch only machine. It is traditionally marketed as a quilter’s machine, but I think it makes an amazing dedicated dressmaking machine if you already have another for zig-zag stitching. I have always wanted an industrial machine and could certainly fit one in this space, but I think this machine makes a great substitute. It doesn’t go as fast as an industrial but at 2000 stitches per minute is much faster than most home machines, which do about 800 stitches per minute. It also takes industrial machine feet and attachments, which is a big bonus for me as I’ve collected quite a few.

I started moving into this space two months ago but it has taken me some time getting used to organizing sewing and project time outside the house. The positives: It’s HUGE. Way more space than I needed, actually, but it’s so great to spread everything out. And it makes the possibility of hosting open studios or lingerie sewing workshops (a goal of mine) much more imminent. And when I’m home I don’t obsess (as much) on sewing and get important stuff done (taxes. laundry. see how easy it is to sew instead?). I spend more time in my garden. The negatives: I can’t just get some wild idea and run over to my sewing machine or cutting table with my pjs on. And I still would rather work on fitting projects in the privacy of my home.

But… if you have tried to start a business or art practice from home, I’m sure you know how difficult it is to separate the personal household work from business work or “studio time”. My hobbies, creative work and my household keeping are all blended so I have always struggled with time management, and having a separate physical space is helping me organize.

My other big issue is light–there are no windows with natural light. But I love taking pictures in the privacy of my own space so much more than “location shooting”. I was kind of shocked at how cool my iPhone photos turned out, even at their usual jacked up ISO, which inspired me to join Instagram. Maybe it will force me to practice impromptu photography a bit more. Anyone have tips for a newbie Instagrammer?

Happy spring!

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Burda, Meet Burda

burda-us

{Burda Style December 2013 and U.S. premiere edition}

I credit Burda magazine for being one of the resources that got me excited about sewing again. For most of my twenties, any time I’d pick up sewing, I’d quickly get very restless and bored with patterns. I had these images in my head but no idea how to turn them into reality. Adding to this mix was a long dusty period where American sewing patterns were so out of tune with style, and local sewing stores turned into craft and quilt emporiums but I wanted… fashion! So I turned to patternmaking classes. I figured I might as well learn to do it myself. Discovering Burda became a cup in the desert. Their style was better in tune with fashion, European, and lookee, a ton of patterns in all one magazine!

After five years of subscribing, it no longer seems like a novelty. Their fashions might seem “normal” now, but there was a time when one could still make a distinction between European and American style. I call it the Pre-Zara era. Now we have global street style (global hipsters…), you know? So much has changed, as the craft of garment sewing flourishes, and with it a flourishing of independent pattern companies and their designers.

And honestly, sometimes I wonder if I need this many sewing patterns. Anything I could want to sew has already been published in Burda and I probably have it somewhere in the stash. But I was more than a little curious about the new American edition. So I picked up a copy from Joann’s last week to compare to my monthly magazines. Here’s a quick lowdown on the differences:

  • US edition has four pattern sheets with 20 patterns. It also includes 20 free downloads of the patterns not included on the sheets. (40 patterns in total.) Seven plus-size patterns.
  • The Europe issue has two sheets with 17 patterns (and two or three variations on each of those). Six of these are plus-size.
  • All of the patterns in the current American Burda were published last winter (between the November and December 2012 issues). So they are running a year behind (for the moment?).

The US edition feels like a Burda re-boot. Since it is the premier edition the first few sections offer an introduction to using and tracing the patterns, and a beginner’s guide to using a serger.

I’m not quite ready to give up on my European subscription but the new magazine has merit. I like the friendlier format with the ability to trace off some patterns and download others. The digital option keeps the pattern sheets less crowded and confusing.

Much easier on the eyes:

burda-us-pattern-sheets

The US version doesn’t have all the line drawings on one page, as the European issues do. I wish they’d include this as that is the only way I find stuff in the vast Burda-verse:

burda-pattern-styles

Overall, both editions are still incredibly cost-effective. Where else can you get 20-30 patterns for less than the price most independents are charging for single patterns? Of course it’s only valuable if you enjoy Burda patterns in the first place. It’s true that Burda repeats its styles over and over, sometimes with really minor variations. I don’t particularly like their “ethnic/folklore/hippie chic/gypsy” patterns they seem to publish every two months. But hey, those styles must have a following…

105_petticoat_large

I know that Burda puts off beginners, especially North American sewists who didn’t grow up learning from it, who don’t have the same “pattern magazine” tradition that other countries have. I don’t mind tracing off patterns as that’s part of its value–more patterns, less paper cost. In many ways, I really have to thank Burda for making me a better sewist and helping me develop an eye for a good pattern. For example, I don’t mind that I have to add seam allowances. In fact I prefer doing so, because with Burda I know exactly where the seamlines are, and have more control over how much allowance I add. I like small allowances in waistbands, facings and pocket openings, and learning to do that has improved my sewing immensely. And I rarely have to check the accuracy of the drafts–the seams match, they meet at 90 degrees important places, etc.–like I do with some patterns. I love trying new styles from independent companies but some really do suffer from poor pattern engineering.

There are two things Burda does very well and frequently: jackets and trousers. In my collection of issues, they’ve published every style of jacket imaginable: trench coats, duffel coats, anoraks, blazers, and in many variations. Same with trousers and jeans. If I’m looking for a pattern or a particularly classic style, even if it’s just to research changes to another company’s pattern, I shop my Burda “library” first.

burda-jackets-2

burda-jackets

Some day I’m going to tackle that Lagerfeld pattern (white jacket on the right). That issue been sitting out on my coffee table for two years!

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It Takes 50 People to Design a Bra

Have you seen this National Geographic video called “Bra Business”? My husband and a reader recently shared this with me; it’s a quick look at how a Maidenform sample-maker develops a new molded bra prototype from patterning to fit models right in NYC. There’s even a little sewing in there, along with the help of a 405° heat molding machine:

I love that it takes “50 people in 7 departments over 6 months to lock in the design of one new bra”. Puts some perspective on fitting our own bras, right? I’m not a huge fan of molded bras but I admire the precision, how each millimeter counts, in bra manufacturing. They might be small but in the history of the bra business these little things, down to underwire angles, have been secrets or even patents.

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March is Scarcely Here

bee in the plum tree

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

{Emily Dickinson}

There will be no Lingerie Friday today. This weekend begins…. begins so many things. March, as we say, is an energy-shifter. Austin grows twice its size during SXSW. Friends arrive from England, Derek’s birthday aka St. Patrick’s Day, and in the midst we are MOVING. Our friends are here to help us with that, God bless them. Spring has such a fast approach, and I don’t want to miss a moment of its goodness.

But I can’t wait till we are fully moved back into our house. The last year and a half we’ve been in a rental with no character while we did some remodels. Our house is a teeny cottage, cute and old (for Texas) and it has a personality. I’ll just have to figure out where to put all the sewing equipment that has grown (I mean seriously grown) over the last two years. I need like magic pulleys to store things on the ceiling.

Anyways, hopefully I won’t get too silent around here, but y’all know how moving goes!

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Lingerie Friday: Bodysuits

Annnd she’s back with Lingerie Fridays, my little weekly dose of lingerie design, inspiration and sewing. As if the dosage hasn’t been full-strength around here! And clearly it’s going all around: y’all have seen Maddie’s adorable new free pattern, the Amerson Undies, right? I can see some very cheeky bloomers popping up around the sewing webs. (Yes, a terrible pun…)

This week I’ve been thinking lots about bodysuits. More and more lingerie designers are catching on to their revival and the modern interpretations are in very lightweight yet surprisingly sleeking materials. But I’m a bit curious how I’d fit one into my wardrobe. Mostly they conjure up my occasional fantasy that I’m a svelte and angular dancer in a Merce Cunningham production.

zimmermann-corsetierre-suit

My interest in this style piqued last summer when I first spotted this Zimmermann “Corsetierre” swimsuit at Anthropologie. It’s a swimsuit, but clearly taking its queue from underthings.

bodysuits

{Mimi Holliday Bisou Bisou, Mimi Holliday Pizazz, Huit Icone bodysuits}

What inspires me are the details–the waist definition, lace panels, keyhole backs and the effortless-looking fit designed to wrap the body. Sometimes I want a extra little shaping and smoothing. Am I just infected by the romanticism of their design? Your honest two cents: Do you own one? Would you wear them? With what?

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Bra-making Sew Along: Grand Finale!

Friends, it has been a wonderful ride and it’s time for a wrap-up. I love season finales. You know, the kind of plot ending where all the characters–even the ones who mysteriously morphed into into their evil twin two seasons ago–return to the screen for one final blow-out episode. Plot loopholes be darned, closure is good for the heart.

My finished bras!

pale green lace bra by Amy

This bra fits me like a dream. If you’ve been following along you’ve probably picked up on all my little (and not so little) alterations. I altered my cup to a vertical seam. I also used shorter underwires, lowered the neckline about 3/8″, and widened the straps in front–more of a demi style. My bra is made from mostly stash materials that I dyed to match the pale grey-green lace. (I’m really into blushing mints right now!)

pale peach longline bra by Amy

My friend’s bra is made from Elan 645 using a bra kit from Fabric Depot Co. I made some alterations to her cup seams to fit for a softer look and lengthened her band a bit–both around the body and lengthwise for a longline bra.

Some highlights from the Flickr group and beyond…

knit & lace set, Handmade by Carolyn

Carolyn made Kwik Sew 3300 in a lovely blue marled knit and cream lace. And she’s a fellow knicker-making fanatic. You can read about these lovely laceys on her blog Handmade By Carolyn. Thanks Carolyn, for your amazing participation and encouragement!

Sewy Rebecca by Michelle Sews

Michelle joins me in a passion for collecting bra patterns. She started out with Danglez DB3 but decided she’d be better off trying Sewy’s Rebecca bra (above). Rebecca is a fantastic pattern, especially for larger cups. Michelle also informed us that Bra-makers Supply was about to release a new pattern called Shelley–as of today it’s available here. For those Sewy Rebecca fans and others who need the option of a side cup piece and multi-seaming–this one’s gonna be a big hit. I just know it. Hop over to Michelle’s blog to see a she drafted a Shelley-type bra from her Pin-up Classic pattern.

black lace by, by Mirza of Let's Tweed Again

This is Mirza’s stunning black lace and red-trimmed bra from Pin-up Girls Classic pattern. You can see more gorgeous pics and read her review en le français on her blog Let’s Tweed Again. Oh Mirza, what a delicate beauty!

satin bra by Ginny

Ginny finished her first bra and isn’t it so beautifully made? This one uses a matching kit from Summerset on Etsy–more on her blog GinPins. I just love the ornament idea!

black lace set, Melissa of Fehr Trace

Melissa of Fehr Trade got the kick to revisit her bra patterns and made this decadent bra from Elan 330. In her post about this set, she also included a great tutorial about a way to finish off the top of a cup with multiple layers.

lace and satin set by KazztheSpazz

Kazz went on a bra-making spree, y’all. Here’s her post about this set. I think I’m going to have to pull out all my black lace now because wow. Wow. She took the “Hack Your Bra” idea to heart and is just killing her Elan 645 pattern with all kinds of styles–bustiers, longlines

Did you make a bra and would you like to share? Let us know in the comments! Understandably, I got behind on all my blog reading, so I may have missed you if you blogged about it. If you were a secret sew-alonger you can email me, too. I’d love to hear about your project and how it went.

Over at the Flickr group we had quite the fitting expedition. I’m even in the process of custom-drafting a bra for someone! I really want to thank Norma Loehr and her generosity in answering so many of our fitting questions. And there were many!

It was such an honor to host this sew-along, chat with many of you, and I hope it inspired y’all to keep on at it! You caught the lingerie bug, didn’t you…

Note: All photos here are © their owners.

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New Year Lookout!

Happy New Year, everyone! I’ve really been enjoying reading all the “looking back” posts by sewing bloggers. I’ve never done this before but it brings so much perspective so I decided to jump in on the fun! I’m pretty shocked at how much I actually made because I consider myself a slow sewist–intentionally so, because I like really taking my time to refine patterns. There was a lot that didn’t get blogged about, either.

2012 was a pretty topsy-turvy year, full of many changes. A not so small one included us living in a rental most of the year while we did some renovations to our beloved arts and crafts home. There’s a whole story there, but the major bonus of this rental was the space–for the first time in my life I had a sewing room! I’ve been sewing since I was a teenager and always wanted a space just for that, to come in and out of as I please without having to haul machines back and forth out of closets, cut on the floor, etc. Derek always reminds me that sewing is a tool-heavy craft. I didn’t even have room for an ironing board in our house, and I’ve been collecting sewing paraphernalia for twenty years!

My top faves:

Persian lamb coat with leather trim (Burda December 2011, #114)

persian lamb coat with leather

My first big project of the year was tackling a leather and fur coat. I had so much fun making this and trying new techniques, and it has to be my favorite handmade garment so far–it turned out so perfectly, is so me, and I’ve worn it quite a bit.

Satin PJs (Burda November 2009, #129 and #132)

Burda satin PJs

This was my second pair of handmade pjs and I’ve worn both sets to pieces (I think I probably need a little more variety!). Little did I know, lingerie would start to become a bit of an obsession…

Scallop shorts & Mariner bodysuit (Pattern Runway, tutorial at Daughter Fish)

Sweet Shorts & Bodysuit

I got wise this year and started in on my summer project ideas in early spring. I intended to make several more pair of shorts but as you’re about to see, things took a much different turn! I’m including these in my faves because I was pretty proud of the fit I got on these (it took 3 muslins, but I haven’t gotten this far on pants yet!).

Peasant top and skirt (1970s Simplicity 7892 and self-drafted skirt)

peasant blouse & skirt

Award for most-worn-thing-I-made-ever goes to this butterscotch yellow top. I’m still wearing it this week! I’m a little surprised because yellow isn’t normally my color–is actually the furthest thing from my color–but it somehow goes with everything and reminds me I need some more easy blouses. This whole outfit was a knockoff of a Salvadore Ferragamo runway look.

Sewaholic Cambie Dress

cambie dress

I really wanted to try my hand at pattern-testing so I eagerly signed up for Tasia’s Cambie dress. I made actually made two but this one was my favorite. Despite the fact that this dress isn’t my usual style, this was one of my favorite makes this year. I love how her patterns fit me and I intend to use this dress as a block for some other designs. And this won’t be the last time I sew with a cotton/silk voile. It was heaven to work with and so perfect in our climate.

From about May onwards, I went lingerie-crazy. I knew that I had found something of my sewing “calling” in lingerie, and decided to start developing some of my own patterns, including my first, the Rosy Ladyshorts. I’ve now collected quite the library of books on bra-making, drafted about 15 different bra and underwear blocks, and have been experimenting a lot with concepts in grading (read: math) especially for stretch fabrics. I really look forward to making more patterns and maybe even some custom bras for friends!

lilac lace brapurple-silk-longline-braPeach Lace Bra detailbra with scallops in bridgegrey-lace-ladyshortsfoam cup bra with dyed elastic

One thing that’s been hilariously consistent is my inconsistency as a blogger. That’s about to change and real fast! The lingerie-fest continues as I kick off the bra-making sew-along next week. I’m really excited for the New Year!

I hope y’all have a happy, imaginative and creative 2013!

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Lingerie Friday: Lilac Lace

This has been a relatively quiet Christmas season in our house, all the better because January is going to be a very full month. I’ve been spending the last week or so finishing up some creative projects so my brain and sewing area is clear for the coming new year! For today’s Lingerie Friday I thought it’d be fun to share one of my latest sets with a bra based on one of the patterns I’m using in the sew-along.

lilac lace bra

I love the hunt for nice laces and good elastic. Some of my favorite lingerie notions have come from the remotest corners of the internet–usually not a well-designed web 2.0 shop that blings “Lingerie Supplies”! I’m a ninja googler. Still, it’s always nice to find something locally, and I did on a recent adventure to Texstyles, a newish fabric store in South Austin. It’s a tiny blink-and-you’ll-miss-it storefront simply labeled “FABRIC” with a screenprinted banner. Next to a breakfast taco van–a pretty good sign, as just about everything great in Austin is within reach of a breakfast taco. (It’s all about the salsa!)

Texstyles might be teeny and obtuse but it’s crammed with apparel fabrics–silks, knits, wools, a little bit of everything. And there there were all the baskets of elastic and lace trims in the window. I was encouraged to “just dump them out and find what you need and if you don’t, write it down and I’ll find it for you!” I like that kind of thinking, sort of like having a personal shopper for the L.A. downtown fabric district, which is where they visit monthly for their stock. Among all the reasonably priced baskets of elasticated goods I found a few bra trims and this delicate and very soft lilac stretch lace fabric.

The lace was perfect for a pair of ladyshorts and some other knickers but I also wanted to see if it could turn into a pretty bra as well.

lilac lace set

The undies are a new pattern I’ve drafted. I’ve fallen a little in love with high-waisted knickers with panel designs, and I wanted this one to be entirely seamless except for the panel. I still have some pattern tweaks to work out and I’m not so hot about that big picot elastic, a little too frou for my taste, but it was a good trial run.

lilac-bra-display

lilac-bra-form2

When I first made the Pin-up Girls pattern, it was hard to see past the plain and what I thought was old-fashioned look of the bra on the envelope. But I’ve found it’s incredibly easy to alter the pattern to something closer to my style or a more contemporary aesthetic. I’ve made several bras using the Pin-up pattern more or less as a block–many of which I haven’t blogged about. In my experience most important part of any bra pattern starts with the fit of the bra band, underwire and cradle. The cup style is pretty easy to modify. On this bra I made a pretty basic change by widening the strap placement and changing the cups’ side shaping for more underarm coverage. On me, the result looks closer to the demi bras I am used to wearing.

There are a lot of different ways to finish off the top of a cup and you can see on this one there is no trim or scalloped edge, but a clean finish to the edge. The cup is fully lined in sheer tricot for stability and to keep that edge from stretching out, I stitched in some narrow clear elastic to the seam allowance. It’s very invisible and feels really soft when I’m wearing it.

As you can probably tell from my previous lingerie posts, I’m always looking for fun ways to shoot lingerie. When I lay them flat on a surface, it’s hard to see details and tell what kind of form they have. When they’re hanging against a backlight, you can revel in the light and sheer. On my booty mannequin, you get a feeling for how they take shape. (Not that I have this shape, and I prefer to save these secrets for my man, but it’s close enough!)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and Christmas. We’re off to the *shudder with cold* midwest to visit my family!

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Late Summer Escapes

Well hello again. I’m writing this post from a somewhat sunny California, on a much-needed rest at the tip of summer’s end. Sometimes space is good, nobody knowing where you are is good.

That I’m wearing a windbreaker should give you an idea of how happy I am! When I last saw Texas, the heat was still pretty killer. I experience a certain late-summer languishing akin to those late-winter blues in climates that actually have a sense of winter. Too hot to think, too hot to get inspired about clothes! I’ve been traveling quite a bit and have hardly been home in the last month but I’m hoping some of this time away from heat and le blog and interweb activity will bring some fresh perspective and direction, both in my sewing and my writing.

Not that I haven’t been sewing or at least thinking about it! My free time has been filled with visions of pretty underthings and a few experiments in my own designs. Friends, I am utterly taken with lingerie design. Making my first bra a year ago tapped into something deeper for me–more than just another thing I’d like to learn how to make. Gardeners often talk about “signature plants” and my flowers became sweet peas. I even tried breeding my own varieties. Their history, fragrance, short-lived ephemerality, small but radiant blossoms and attraction to bees essentialized everything I loved about flowers. You can probably see the connection. I might have to stop myself from turning this into a lingerie blog! But seriously, I might start a regular feature on lingerie design, sewing and sourcing.

But first things first. Thank you for your sweet comments about my silk bra. It’s already become one of my favorite bras and definitely one of better-fitting ones I’ve made. I can’t wait to get back home and experiment some more with the pattern. Several comments gave me some good ideas for later later posts. Katherine asked me about how I adjusted my patterns for stretch and this is a little something I’ve been researching and working on, with a help of a few books about lingerie design. I’ve even come up with a geeky cool calculator that is helping me adjust pieces for different stretch percents. In an upcoming post/s I will share more ideas on how to adapting and fitting bra patterns.

Now to catch up on all your lovely blogs… Or just keep enjoying the bits of cool sunshine on my face.

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