Cloth Habit http://clothhabit.com thoughtful sewing techniques and patterns Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:01:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Watson Sewalong & Upcoming Tutorials http://clothhabit.com/watson-sewalong-announcement/ http://clothhabit.com/watson-sewalong-announcement/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:01:20 +0000 http://clothhabit.com/?p=10641 Thank you all for your kind and enthusiastic response to the Watson! I’m so glad that it fills a space in your lingerie hearts. And you guys are fast! I’ve already started seeing a few lovely versions popping up and I love seeing what you do with it. You can tag #watsonbra on Instagram, add […]

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Watson Bra Pattern | Cloth Habit

Thank you all for your kind and enthusiastic response to the Watson! I’m so glad that it fills a space in your lingerie hearts.

And you guys are fast! I’ve already started seeing a few lovely versions popping up and I love seeing what you do with it. You can tag #watsonbra on Instagram, add your photo to my new Flickr group, or send me a link to your blog post.

watson sewalong

The Watson is easy to fit and quick to make if you have any experience sewing lingerie but I know some of you are new to bra-making or would like some tips along the way. I’ll be hosting a sewalong starting January 12.

We’ll walk through making a full set, and I’ll include some easy fitting alterations. I’m also going to add a few extra tutorial “goodies”:

  • How to cut and sew a version of the bra with galloon lace cups (this is not in the pattern)
  • Quick and easy dyeing tutorial, for those of you interested in dyeing lingerie fabrics or elastics

I’d originally planned to do a sewalong shortly after release but it so happens that my pattern was delayed a bit. I don’t want to ram this all into a holiday month, which we all know come and go in the blink of an eye!

In the meantime, I know many of you are eager to whip this up, or want to have your fabrics ready in time of the sewalong, so tomorrow I’m going to cover everything you need to know about choosing and sourcing fabrics and notions for the Watson.

Over the next couple weeks I’ll also have a few surprises in store for you. A couple of my favorite fabric shops have offered to partner up to offer discounts and even some Watson bra kits to my readers! Here’s a little sneak peak of kits that Grey’s Fabric will be offering:

Watson kit - Greys Fabric | Cloth Habit

Stay tuned to the blog or my newsletter for when these become available.

That’s it for today’s newsy post but before I sign off, I really want to give a huge thanks to my friend Stephanie Press and the always lovely Heather Lou of Closet Case Files for helping me bring this pattern to life, as well as their entrepreneurial insights along the way. Steph helped me cut pattern after pattern and helped me work through sample ideas over many Thursday afternoons together. And Heather was a real comrade, pushing me toward the finish line, and listening to me kvetch about stuff like grading in Illustrator. She was the first person to ask me if I’d make a pattern for a sheer plunge bra. I’m sure most independent patternmakers feel this way but there are days when you feel like you are working in a vacuum and it just takes a few encouraging souls to keep you moving. Thanks, guys!

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Introducing Watson Bra & Bikini http://clothhabit.com/introducing-watson-bra-bikini/ http://clothhabit.com/introducing-watson-bra-bikini/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:30:58 +0000 http://clothhabit.com/?p=10605 Today I’m thrilled to release my “baby” into the world, my new pattern Watson! Since the first time I made one of the bras for myself, I was a little bit addicted. How many fabrics could I make this in? At that time I was learning a lot about dyeing so I came up with […]

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Watson Lingerie Pattern | Cloth Habit

Today I’m thrilled to release my “baby” into the world, my new pattern Watson!

Since the first time I made one of the bras for myself, I was a little bit addicted. How many fabrics could I make this in? At that time I was learning a lot about dyeing so I came up with this grand idea of mixing my own dyes for an entire collection! And so I did.

Watson Lingerie Pattern | Cloth Habit

I’m a huge fan of all things 70s but especially in lingerie. It was a time of subtlety, soft fabrics, not overly stuffed or rigid looks. And then there was the skin. That glowy 70s skin! Just look at old Maidenform or Huit advertisements from the mid-70s; it’s all models in wind-swept hair, draped peignoirs over sheer plunging bras. This kind of woman-body-free feeling was my inspiration for the Watson. I wanted something playful and not too serious.

So let’s talk about the pattern…

the bra

The bra pattern is designed for stretch fabrics and has two styles. View A is a longline bra and View B is a regular length band that runs right under the cups. The cups fit into either so you can mix and match!

Watson Lingerie Pattern | Cloth Habit

I wanted my first bra pattern to be a bit easier to sew and fit than a traditional underwired pattern. The Watson is a great way to dive into bra-making techniques as it uses some of the same construction methods as underwired bras, but it has a very forgiving fit.

Now a few notes about fit: this pattern has cup and band sizes! As I was developing this pattern, I had to make a big decision about sizes and grading. Most of the time soft cup bras without wires run in alpha sizes (small, medium, large, etc.) and meant to fit a broad range within each size. I wanted to offer a bigger and more specific size range.

The pattern has some measuring and fitting tips, but keep in mind that it is not meant to fit like a wired bra. If you like a little bit of lift, try the longline bra! It uses the same cup but longline bras have more of a “cantilever”. Because it wouldn’t be a Cloth Habit pattern without a bit of science in there, too!

And just as a note, since a few readers have asked: this is not an underwired pattern and you can’t use wires in this style. I did not design the cradle around wires and I can explain more of that in a fitting post!

the bikini

This is a really simple and straightforward bikini and totally inspired by 70s bikinis. Something you can cut and make in under an hour.

Watson Lingerie Pattern | Cloth Habit

fabrics

Both the bra and the bikini are designed for stretch knit fabrics. I wouldn’t recommend wovens or non-stretch fabrics. The only area that needs a non-stretch lining is the cradle at the front of the bra. Fear not, these fabrics are easy to find and I promise I’ll go into more details about material choices next week. The pattern also has several tips and tricks for choosing appropriate fabrics.

the name

The Watson is inspired, of course, by Sherlock’s pal, and more specifically Lucy Liu’s take on Elementary. I. love. this. show. And must have rewatched all the episodes three times while on the finish stretch of this pattern. I love almost any detective show (and every version of Sherlock) but Liu’s Watson is such a beautiful counterbalance, and nearly every episode I end up rewinding to look at her groovy outfits.

So that’s it for today. I’d love to hear what you think, or any questions you have!

Watson Bra & Bikini is available at my new shop.

Watson Lingerie Pattern | Cloth Habit

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Crazy Pants, Noah’s Ark Edition http://clothhabit.com/crazy-pants-noahs-ark-edition/ http://clothhabit.com/crazy-pants-noahs-ark-edition/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 14:30:43 +0000 http://clothhabit.com/?p=10575 Yesterday morning a student was bicycling down our street in a t-shirt and shorts and our concerned neighbor shouted after him, “Put some layers on! Aren’t you freezing?!” To which he yelled from his fast-moving bike, “Seriously? I’M FROM CONNECTICUT!” Well I’m from Michigan and it’s still crazy cold here in Austin, so don’t let […]

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Crazy Pants | Cloth Habit

Yesterday morning a student was bicycling down our street in a t-shirt and shorts and our concerned neighbor shouted after him, “Put some layers on! Aren’t you freezing?!” To which he yelled from his fast-moving bike, “Seriously? I’M FROM CONNECTICUT!”

Well I’m from Michigan and it’s still crazy cold here in Austin, so don’t let my coatless self fool you. The sun came out for the first time in a few days and like all sun-addicted Texans I just had to spend some time in it. The things I’ll do for a photo shoot!

Since I’m talking crazy, it’s time to break out my new skinny pants.

Crazy Pants | Cloth Habit

I don’t quite know what’s going on here, like a Noah’s boat sort of print, full of feather eyes, snake scales and cat stripes. I kept trying to figure out the animal references while sewing it together. I hoped I wasn’t getting too psychedelic but my man kept saying THAT IS THE COOLEST FABRIC. When I tried them on to fit, he kept following from behind. Methinks that must be the best view!

Crazy Pants | Cloth Habit

Sorry, I’m not pulling up my jacket, so you’ll have to trust me on that one.

This is a new pants draft that I worked on in the spring, specifically with crazy pants in mind. I was really craving a pair of skinny printed pants to add to my capsule wardrobe, and made another pair on a bizarre dotted print that didn’t fit as well as I liked so I went back to the drawing board. I’m addicted to trying different patternmaking methods as a learning experience, so I tried a different method than the one I used for my skinny jeans. At this point I have several great pants and jeans blocks and I’m so ecstatic about this that I innocently believe I’ll be sewing 10 pairs by the end of the winter.

Here’s the deal with stretch pants: every fabric behaves so differently. Sometimes you need a little more leg width or a little less in the crotch extension. What I like to do is start with zero ease (no negative ease) at the hips and then baste up the pants with a big stitch and slowly work my way down till the skinny is just right. And it’s really important to balance the adjustments between the inseam and the side seam. Taking in too much at the inseam throws off the balance that causes all sorts of diagonal underbum wrinkles and possibly leg twist. This is something you never see explained in patternmaking books (except the German ones): how the balance of the leg underneath the crotch affects fit.

Anyhoo, the pants. These are basically stretch skinny jeans but without traditional jeans details like a yoke and back pockets and rivets and all that. Okay, so they’re not jeans at all, but the shaping is basically the same. I also draped in a wide contour waistband, which really takes the fit up a notch! Next time I think I’ll try a tabbed fly…

Crazy Pants | Cloth Habit

Normally I wouldn’t be tucking in a top with these. I made these with a mid to high rise (9″ to be exact). I love this height for tops that will be untucked because it’s super comfortable, but if I wanted to tuck I’d go even higher or lower simply because I like those visual proportions better.

Crazy Pants | Cloth Habit

On a sentimental last note, I want to dedicate this post to my amazing mother-in-law. She has been through a serious health scare this week, and since she’s a believer that you gotta keep on shining no matter what, I hope my crazy brings some shining to her day!

Details:
Pattern: self drafted
Fabric: Emma One Sock
Zipper: Zipper Stop

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Coming Soon – Watson Bra & Bikini! http://clothhabit.com/watson-bra-bikini-preview/ http://clothhabit.com/watson-bra-bikini-preview/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 17:43:32 +0000 http://clothhabit.com/?p=10544 After months of hard work, my new pattern Watson is finally coming next week! Today I wanted to give you guys a little sneak peak. My idea for the bra pattern began well over a year ago. I’d been inspired by longline soft bras and experimented with a few versions for myself. And I’ve got […]

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Watson Sneak Peak | Cloth Habit

After months of hard work, my new pattern Watson is finally coming next week! Today I wanted to give you guys a little sneak peak.

My idea for the bra pattern began well over a year ago. I’d been inspired by longline soft bras and experimented with a few versions for myself. And I’ve got to say, it’s become my favorite bra to wear and make!

Watson Sneak Peak | Cloth Habit

Watson Sneak Peak | Cloth Habit

Some of my regular visitors have probably noticed that I’ve been “nesting” in preparation for this pattern. I gave Cloth Habit a facelift and reorganized it to make tutorials and sew-alongs easier to find. (Look under the Tutorials & Tips tab.)

In case you’re curious about this dress form, she’s one of my new tools! About a year ago Alvanon was developing a form specifically for swim and lingerie and I bought one of their development prototype forms at a discount.

Watson Sneak Peak | Cloth Habit

And it’s an incredible form. It’s squishy in all the right ways and shaped to mimic actual body posture–it even has clavicles! More importantly, the measurements are aligned with my base sizes so I get to try out styles on her. This is not the only way I will fit new patterns, but it’s a great tool.

That’s it for today… I’ll be announcing the release next week!

……

p.s. If you’d like to be the first to know when this and future patterns are released, sign up for my newsletter, the Lingerie Maker. (I like to share sewing tips, too!)

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Quick Fabric Prep with a Steamer http://clothhabit.com/quick-fabric-prep-steamer/ http://clothhabit.com/quick-fabric-prep-steamer/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 14:00:24 +0000 http://clothhabit.com/?p=10525 Although I’m a big presser in the process of sewing, I rarely press my actual clothes. (Confession: I wear rumpled buttondown shirts quite a bit.) My husband, on the other hand, loves pressing and especially loves spending time getting all his shirts and jackets ready the night before a big trip. He travels a lot, […]

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Although I’m a big presser in the process of sewing, I rarely press my actual clothes. (Confession: I wear rumpled buttondown shirts quite a bit.) My husband, on the other hand, loves pressing and especially loves spending time getting all his shirts and jackets ready the night before a big trip. He travels a lot, so a few years ago I bought him an inexpensive travel steamer.

mini steamer | Cloth Habit

(I don’t remember where I bought it but it’s this one.)

And this gadget turned out to be a huge time saver for sewing, too. When faced with long yardages of silk, the thought of pressing it all over an iron board caused me to procrastinate on projects to no end.

Now I just steam it! Welcome to my teensy weensy bathroom.
steaming wrinkles | Cloth Habit

These won’t be the best photos but you get the picture. It’s super overcast today and I don’t have a lot of bathroom light!

I’m working on the Archer shirt pattern and want to make it from this lovely pumpkin rayon challis I’ve had in the stash for a couple of years. Rayon challis wrinkles as soon as you look at it, right? I knew it would have a party slithering all over my ironing board while trying to press two yards of it.

So this is how I deal with long yardages of slithery fabric: I drape them over the shower rod, turn on the little steamer and run it all over the fabric.

Before:

steaming wrinkles | Cloth Habit

And 30 seconds later:

steaming wrinkles | Cloth Habit

A little steamer like this is not going to “press”, but it does relax all the wrinkles and folds, making it flat enough for cutting. If your iron puts out enough steam, you could probably hook it up and do the same thing. I like this one because it has a head that points the steam jets directly at the fabric.

Once I’m done, I let the fabric hang till it is fairly dry. With a thin rayon challis like this that’s about 5 to 10 minutes. (I live in a dry climate so your mileage may vary.)

Have your tried using steamers in your sewing? They’re great little tools to add to the arsenal!

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Pattern Drafting With Illustrator http://clothhabit.com/pattern-drafting-illustrator/ http://clothhabit.com/pattern-drafting-illustrator/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:00:31 +0000 http://clothhabit.com/?p=10447 After my last post about pattern drafting I got so many great comments about the various programs you use, whether as a hobby or professionally. This subject definitely brings the patternmakers out of the woodwork! That makes me happy because I love patternmaking minds. I want to put you all in a room together so […]

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After my last post about pattern drafting I got so many great comments about the various programs you use, whether as a hobby or professionally. This subject definitely brings the patternmakers out of the woodwork! That makes me happy because I love patternmaking minds. I want to put you all in a room together so we can geek out on subjects like bone structure, sleeve caps, and pattern puzzles.

Today as promised I’d like to share a few of my favorite Illustrator tools for drafting patterns. Now just to warn you, I am not writing a tutorial on “how to draft in Illustrator”, nor am I trying to exhaust the subject. I’m also assuming that you are a hobbyist drafting for yourself. If you are interested in making sewing patterns for sale, there are many issues to consider and these are worthy of a tutorial series or course on their own. I’ve included some resources at bottom if this is your interest.

So let’s dig in…

Learning the Pen and Line Tools

If you are brand new to using vector software of any type, I recommend spending some time playing with the pen tool. This is the most basic tool and when drafting you’ll use it over and over again. You’ll also use the Line tool, which allows you to draw straight lines and transform them into curved ones later on.

When I first started using Illustrator I created documents and made a bunch of random shapes freehand with the pen. Play around with it until you get used to the motions with your mouse or trackpad.

Get to Know Anchor Points

Anchor points are little dots that “anchor” a line or curve into a particular spot. These points have handles that can be pulled out to create curves. The more anchors the more complex a curve can get.

Illustrator Drafting Tips | Cloth Habit

You can add anchor points to any line by clicking on the “Add Anchor” tool (the shortcut in Illustrator is the + key).

Measuring Lines

There are two ways I measure lines. The simplest is through the “Document Info” window.

For example, let’s say I want to measure an armscye. First I select the armscye line with the “Direct Selection” tool (shortcut: “A” key). Then I look in the Document Info window. If this is not visible, click on “Window > Show Document Info”.

Illustrator Drafting Tips | Cloth Habit

The Document Info window has an additional dropdown menu for “Objects”.

Illustrator Drafting Tips | Cloth Habit

When a line is selected, this information window will give you an exact measurement of your line down to fractions of inches, millimeters or centimeters.

The second tool I use for measuring lines is a plugin called Vector Scribe. Years ago this plugin was called SnapMeasure. It cost a mere $10 or so. Unfortunately another company bought it out, repackaged and amped the price but I’ve gotten so used to the tool that I had to bite the bullet once I upgraded Illustrator.

Vector Scribe allows you to measure segments of curves and lines, rather an an entire line. So for example, I can measure just the front part of a sleeve cap:

Illustrator Drafting Tips | Cloth Habit

(DWP means “Distance Within Points”, which is the actual curve measurement along that red line.)

This plugin makes tasks like walking and checking notch placements on my bra patterns so much easier!

Using Guides

Guides are non-printing lines that you can pull into your document. Most Adobe software use guides in some form and they are really helpful for lining pieces up, finding exact corners, or maintaining a control point.

In Illustrator, to pull a guide your rulers have to be visible and you simply click on the ruler and drag downward or inward and a guide appears:

For example, on this sleeve pattern, I pulled in guides to mark the bicep line and the shoulder notch position. I locked the guides (View > Guides > Lock Guides) so they would not move while I was drafting and moving the sleeve seams around.

Duplicating Objects and Layers

Now here is the real beauty of Illustrator—the ability to copy over and over without losing previous work. Illustrator uses layers just like Photoshop.

If I draft something in one layer but need to make an adjustment, I just duplicate the layer. I’ll make the adjustments on the new layer and then go back and make the original layer visible so I can view and assess the changes.

Printing

Unless you are lucky to have a wide-format printer or want to take your patterns to the copy shop, you’ll have to print tiled patterns and tape together just like any pdf sewing pattern! Here is the template I use for all my patterns:

Illustrator Drafting Tips | Cloth Habit

Illustrator has a feature called Artboards, which are hidden in the background and create printing boundaries. In my template I created a 7″x9″ printable rectangle for for every page, then an Artboard that covers each rectangle. Explaining Artboards would take up a post in itself so I’ll leave that to you to explore.

Seam Allowances

There are several methods of creating seam allowances. “Offset Path” is the easiest but all your paths have to be closed. Select your path, then go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter the seam you want in decimals:

Illustrator Drafting Tips | Cloth Habit

I also use a an Action that I made up to create bra seam allowances (very curvy seams need special seam allowance treament!). I’m not going to share it because honestly it is a totally hacky workaround and would take me too long to explain!

Further tips:

  • Keep your lines or strokes under 1 pt (point). I use .5 pt lines. Think of the difference between a sharp pencil and a sharpie marker—if you get thicker than 1 pt you are making your seam line almost a part of the seam allowance.
  • Use the text tool to write notes on your pattern with the date and any adjustments you make. I can’t tell you how many times I used to make multiple versions of a pattern and couldn’t remember which was the most recent! Now I have a practice of putting dates on everything.
  • Learn some shortcuts! There is a shortcut key for everything in Illustrator. The Pen Tool is P, Select Tool is A, and so on. When you start using one tool over and over there is a good chance it has a keyboard shortcut. You can actually make your own (go to Edit – Keyboard Shortcuts), and it will save you time from dragging your mouse over and over again.

Further Resources

(Please note: I am not affiliated with the courses nor have I taken them.)

Is there something you’d like to know how to do in Illustrator? I tried to think of the basics here, but if you have a question feel free to ask!

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A Simple Red Dress http://clothhabit.com/simple-red-dress/ http://clothhabit.com/simple-red-dress/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 14:30:28 +0000 http://clothhabit.com/?p=10479 Hi guys! It’s been so long since I took a photo of myself that I feel really out of practice. Even in my front yard I felt a bit camera shy. But I made something! (That wasn’t lingerie.) Actually I sewed up four projects in a week, an all time record for me, and here’s […]

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Hi guys! It’s been so long since I took a photo of myself that I feel really out of practice. Even in my front yard I felt a bit camera shy.

Cloth Habit | red tank dress

But I made something! (That wasn’t lingerie.) Actually I sewed up four projects in a week, an all time record for me, and here’s why: I had the flu last week. And it was my birthday too! Getting the flu is like one long Twilight Zone episode, a strange dream outside of time. And when you’re stuck at home with little energy for anything more than 15 minutes at a time, what do you do? I eat a lot of comfort foods, shlep around in my pjs and take lots of naps.

And since nothing is worse to me than mental boredom, in my spare spurts of energy I went on a patternmaking and sewing binge. I managed to cut, sew and fit this dress, a t-shirt, and two pairs of pants, and drafted two more pairs of pants I want to make this winter. That was my birthday present to myself…

So here is my belated birthday dress. Because sick or not, one must have at least one new dress for a birthday, no?

red knit dress | Cloth Habit

This was one of the silhouettes I came up with for my summer capsule wardrobe. I really wanted to have a few easy, throw-on knit dresses for our very hot summer days.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to make many non-lingerie pieces this summer. Nor did I buy any clothing. I’m really committed to not filling my wardrobe back up with impulsive buys or ill-fitting clothing but instead want to work toward a thoughtful whole, no matter how long it takes me. However, all this discipline, combined with purging about 75% of my closet in the spring, left me with little variety. So I wanted to knock at least one summer piece off the list before the heat completely disappears.

The Pattern

This is just a simple little knit tank dress. I drafted the tank portion off of my fitted t-shirt pattern. For the skirt, I wanted something in between a quarter circle and half circle skirt, but with waist gathers. Frankly, I don’t like the way circle skirts lay over my tummy. So I drew out a quarter circle skirt, then slashed and spread down the center for the extra ease.

All in all it was pretty slapdash (for me) but I will probably make a few more next summer!

red knit dress | Cloth Habit

The Fabric

The fabric is a lovely cotton and modal blend knit that I sourced wholesale over the spring. Wholesale means: I bought an ENTIRE ROLL! Yowzas. It was my first business fabric purchase and I was quite nervous about keeping that kind of inventory/stash but once I unrolled the fabric, I knew it was the cotton of my dreams. It is also undyed, also known as PFD: prepared for dyeing. This means the cotton has its natural off white color and there are no treatments on the surface. It is quite a glorious fabric to dye!

I used Dharma Trading’s fiber reactive dye in Scarlet, which turned out a lighter red than I wanted so if there’s a next time I’ll make sure to use a little more dye for deeper color.

red knit dress | Cloth Habit

By the way, if you have never tried fiber reactive dyes (also known as Procion MX dyes) on cotton, rayon or linen, you are in for a treat. It takes about an hour to do a solid even dyeing but you don’t need hot water to make them permanent, and after a proper after-dye rinsing and washing it does not bleed or fade. At all. I’ve been using these dyes for over a year and washing items dyed with them quite a bit, so I speak from experience!

I’m so glad to be out of the Twilight Zone and have a little color back. What do you guys do when you’re sick? Are you a fighter or take-it-easy sort? I guess I’m a little bit in the middle…

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Drafting Patterns with Software http://clothhabit.com/pattern-drafting-software/ http://clothhabit.com/pattern-drafting-software/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:30:05 +0000 http://clothhabit.com/?p=10419 If you’ve scooted around these parts for awhile you may have noticed that I like to make fancy-dancy illustrations for my tutorials. Most of the time, those illustrations are scaled down versions of actual patterns that I either drafted on my computer or scanned and then turned into a digital pattern. Many readers have been […]

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Pattern Drafting Software | Cloth Habit

If you’ve scooted around these parts for awhile you may have noticed that I like to make fancy-dancy illustrations for my tutorials. Most of the time, those illustrations are scaled down versions of actual patterns that I either drafted on my computer or scanned and then turned into a digital pattern.

Many readers have been interested in how I draft or what program I use to do those things, so I thought it’d be fun to open up the subject of pattern drafting software.

I use Adobe Illustrator, which is a vector program. I’ve been using Adobe software since the 90s and feel very comfortable with the tools in Illustrator so it was easy to teach myself how to draft in it.

Drafting in Illustrator | Cloth Habit

However, my ease with Illustrator did not make me a good patternmaker. Even if a computer or some online program automatically drafted a pattern after inputting your measurements, there is still the work of learning to to fit, learning what makes for a good pattern. Whether you like drafting old-school on a big piece of paper or in software, the end results can have the same greatness or the same mistakes depending on your skill or the method of drafting you use.

A pro for paper drafting: A drafter can view the pattern in “real life scale”.

Pros for computer drafting: The ability to copy, paste and repeat very quickly. (No more tracing pattern to make adjustments.) Lines and curves can be measured down to millimeters which makes tasks like walking a pattern and matches notches very quick and accurate.

So let’s talk about the types of software you can use for pattern drafting.

CAD VS. VECTOR

In the software industry, CAD is short for “computer aided design”. CAD is a type of modeling software that is used in many fields including architecture design, interior design, 3D modeling and pattern drafting.

Adobe Illustrator and other vector drawing programs are not technically “CAD”, although some like to call it that, short for “computer aided drawing”. If you have ever tried to import a CAD drawing into a vector program or vice versa, you know the chaos that ensues! They are two totally different languages with different purposes.

Three Types of Software Tools

Among options for pattern drafting software, I’d boil them down to three types:

1. CAD-based software for the fashion industry.
There are many different companies making professional pattern software. The biggies are Gerber, Lectra and Optitex. These are all based on CAD technology, very specialized, and cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.

2. Scaled down CAD software for home sewists or custom clothing makers.
Software of this nature is based on CAD technology but has less options in order to make it more affordable.

A few programs of this type:
Wild Ginger PatternMaster
PatternMaker
FashionCAD
Telestia Creator

Some of these programs work by measurement input. You put in measurements, it forms the pattern blocks for you. Others offer full-fledged tools to draft from the ground up. Some of them include additional “style libraries” to add on to your blocks. The market for these kind of programs varies from home sewists to custom apparel and smaller garment companies.

One very important caveat about all of the CAD-based programs: they are based on Windows and only run on a Mac when you own a copy of Windows and run it through Bootcamp or an emulator. (Both of which really slow down my computer…)

3. Vector drawing software.
While vector software is not created specifically for drafting, it is a wonderful tool that puts a highly accurate ruler and pen in your hand. With this kind of software, you draw the patterns as you wish. There are a lot of little tools within a vector program that speed up the process over paper drafting.

The main options:
Adobe Illustrator
CorelDraw
Inkscape (free)

Another option: Adobe just released Illustrator Draw, a free iPad version of Illustrator. It used to be called “Adobe Ideas”, which I used quite a bit last year. It’s actually pretty sweet and has all the important tools you need for drawing. I drafted a pair of pants on it!

Despite its cost I keep using Adobe Illustrator since I am so familiar with how it works and have collected a lot of plugins over the years that increase its functionality. I’ll admit that I was never attracted to the CAD-based programs because I’m such a Mac girl.

In my next patternmaking post, I’ll explore some different ways you can use Illustrator (or any vector program) to draft patterns, along with some of my favorite tricks.

Have you tried using a patternmaking program? And if so, do you feel comfortable working in it? I’d love to hear what others use.

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Made: Strapless Bra & Knickers http://clothhabit.com/strapless-bra-knickers/ http://clothhabit.com/strapless-bra-knickers/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:00:58 +0000 http://clothhabit.com/?p=10381 Happy October y’all! My favorite month of the year. Unfortunately, unlike the pumpkin patch, apple-dunking hayride-loving October I grew up with, Austin is still experiencing some seriously hot summer weather. So I have some days left to squeeze in my new tank dress and this strapless set. And if you followed along with my progress, […]

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Strapless Bra | Cloth Habit

Happy October y’all! My favorite month of the year. Unfortunately, unlike the pumpkin patch, apple-dunking hayride-loving October I grew up with, Austin is still experiencing some seriously hot summer weather. So I have some days left to squeeze in my new tank dress and this strapless set.

And if you followed along with my progress, it must have seemed like this took all summer to make. It did, with a lot of breaks in between. I laid it aside a few times to make about 12 other lingerie sets. I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I’m going to take a small break from making lingerie. Maybe a week, ha. I just love this set and am so glad I put the time getting the fit just so. I feel a little bit like a 40s starlet when I’m wearing it!

Strapless Bra | Cloth Habit

You all asked some great questions about making this kind of bra and one of them was: is a 3-piece cup better for strapless bras?

In my experience, yes. A three-piece is the most common type of cup in RTW strapless bras and probably for a good reason. A single horizontal or vertical seam is more difficult to contour closely at the neckline especially as the cup gets higher over the breast as a strapless bra does. Think of cup seams like darts. The more seams you have the more “dart” possibilities. The more darts, the more a pattern can fit smoothly around a very curved area without distortion. (This is a basic principle in patternmaking, not just for bra cups.)

When I made my muslins I had to try on my cups in foam pin out little darts along the upper piece to get a smooth, non-gaping neckline shape. Then I took these adjustments back to my pattern.

So let’s talk about the bra!

Strapless Bra | Cloth Habit

strapless-bra-inside

There are a lot of different fabrics going on here but thankfully I had most of them in my stash, like the lace, lining, and powernet. I listed my sources at the bottom in case you are curious.

As per my usual bra-making routine, I dyed many parts to match. Thankfully, I lucked out and was able to find some wonderful 5/8” plush elastic that matched perfectly! (I did did a total nerdy happy dance when I opened the packages and saw the color.) And it is a nice, firm elastic which is great for a strapless band. I used the same elastic on top and bottom of the band, which ended up being a good call for support but it also feels super comfortable.

Strapless Bra | Cloth Habit

Unfortunately the very day I finished this my cups got a bit crushed when one of my kitties decided it made a good afternoon nap cushion. I usually have to hide all my sewing projects from them in a drawer somewhere but sometimes I just forget…

The matching knickers were a fun addition. They are slightly higher waisted with a lace inset. I have about 20 underwear styles at this point I’ve been playing with. Some have been winners and others a bit meh, but this one is definitely a winner for a future Cloth Habit pattern!

Strapless Bra | Cloth Habit

lace inset knickers | Cloth Habit

Overall, I’m supremely happy with how this all turned out!

Details:
Bra & knicker patterns: self drafted
Cup & knicker lycra: Girl Charlee
Cup foam and sheer lining: Bra-makers Supply
Powernet: Fabric Depot Co.
Galloon lace: LaceAndTrims
Bra & knicker elastic: Lace Heaven
Wires & other notions: from my collection
Lace, lining and powernet were all dyed to match with Dharma Acid Dye

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Bra Making: Add Boning to a Strapless Bra http://clothhabit.com/how-to-add-bra-side-boning/ http://clothhabit.com/how-to-add-bra-side-boning/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:39:16 +0000 http://clothhabit.com/?p=9806 Oh hey, remember my strapless bra project? This week I had a little “me sewing time” after over a month away, and finally worked on finishing it up! Have you ever used boning in a strapless dress or bra? It’s is one of those little extra things that can add shape and staying up power. […]

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Oh hey, remember my strapless bra project? This week I had a little “me sewing time” after over a month away, and finally worked on finishing it up!

Have you ever used boning in a strapless dress or bra? It’s is one of those little extra things that can add shape and staying up power. A couple of readers have asked me if boning is absolutely necessary and I guess my answer would be—it depends on how serious you are about your bra staying up!

Without bones, a bra slips a bit into “bandeau territory”… the battle of constant pulling up throughout the day. A longer line band helps, as does gripper elastic, but boning is the key to keeping those sides up.

So let’s add some bones…

Add Boning to a Bra | Cloth Habit

Here’s what you need:

  • Plastic bones. I bought plastic boning by the roll at Vogue Fabrics for use in various projects. Corsetmaking Supplies sells smaller sections by the dozen. Google “plastic boning’ and you’ll probably come up with more options, but make sure the boning is 1/4″/6mm. If it’s wider than that you’ll have a hard time fitting it into the channeling.
  • Extra underwire casing
    I am using my own homemade channeling but any wire casing will do as long as it is wide enough to contain the boning after stitching down the edge of each side.

You’ll notice my bra is almost finished. I still have to add the hook & eyes but I wanted to add the boning at the very end so that the bones extended over the elastic and covered most of the side seam.

1. Lay your boning on your the side seams and mark off the length you want. Make sure to leave some room above and below the boning to close the channeling. Then cut.

Add Boning to a Bra | Cloth Habit

2. Round off the ends of the boning with a nail file. This prevents sharp corners from poking through. You can also use your scissors to created rounded ends on the plastic—easy!

Add Boning to a Bra | Cloth Habit

3. Now it’s time to add your channeling. Line up the channeling so that it is centered over your side seam and stitch down each side, leaving the ends open.

Add Boning to a Bra | Cloth Habit

You’ll notice I left a part of the ends unstitched. I did that so I’d have some room to fold under the channeling before closing it off. My homemade channeling is thin enough to do that but most channeling isn’t, so go ahead and stitch all the way down!

4. Insert your bones and test the length. Do you have enough room to close off the channeling with your machinef foot? If not file or cut a bit more off the ends.

Add Boning to a Bra | Cloth Habit

5. Close off the ends. I stitch forward and backward with a small-length straight stitch (between 1 and 1.5). Here’s a close-up…

Add Boning to a Bra | Cloth Habit

On a side note, I used to try a narrow zig-zag or bartack stitch to close off wire channeling but it is really difficult to do neatly over that many layers with my machine. The straight stitch works just fine.

And from the outside…

Add Boning to a Bra | Cloth Habit

That’s it! I promise I’ll be back with some details on the finished bra. I had to make a pair of undies to go with it, of course!

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