White to Ivory: Dyeing with Tea

bridal-bra

I am working on a design idea for a bridal lingerie set, but had the hardest time finding ivory elastic to match my chosen lace. White just looks like an eyesore next to ivory, and I didn’t want a contrasting color.

white-ivory-nylon

I’ve learned through my elastic dyeing experiments that pale colors don’t always turn out as well as darker ones. And ivory has been the hardest color to get. It doesn’t matter what color or how little dye I use, there’s no in between white and a mottled greige that looks just plain wrong.

Tea dyeing turned out to be a perfect solution. I could have also tried coffee, which is far more common in this house! Tea is a really low-commitment, no mess dye, with no need for separate pots or gloves.

I’m just starting to read about natural dyes, especially those that don’t need any mordants or additional chemicals to assist in helping the dye bonding process. These are called “substantive dyes” and include stuff like tea, coffee, onion skins, tumeric and ooh, pecan shells, which are overrunning my garden right now. (We have eight mature pecan trees.) I see a dyeing experiment coming up this fall! But, and a big but, from everything I read, these dyes are the most permanent on wool, and a little less so on cotton. And there isn’t much information about using them on nylon.

But really, all I wanted to do was just “off-color” my notions. I tried a few different teas–PG Tips, chamomile and Lady Grey. The first elastic came out kind of icky gray-ish tan. The chamomile didn’t add much color. The Lady Grey seemed to have more red or warm colored tea leaves in it and that gave me my best results.

tea-dyeing-nylon

First I made the tea by steeping one teabag in a pot for about 1 minute. Just one teabag, because I really just wanted to dim a white color, not go any shade of pale brown. I let things cool down a bit before dunking my notions. In my experience, anything with spandex starts to curl above 140°. When it was ready, I immersed my wet and elastic and notions and stirred them about until they looked like it had just taken on a slight stain.

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I think this will work just beautifully. For all I know, I may have just stained (rather than actually dyed) these elastics, which is just fine. I’m pretty sure they will never fade back to blinding white. If you know the secret to that without using bleach or high heat, pass it on to me, because a few of my white t-shirts would thank you!

Have you ever dyed with tea?

Good Dye Reading:

*Dyeing with Tea

*About Natural Dyes and *some interesting science about mordants

*Handbook of Natural Dyes by Sasha Duerr

(p.s. Thanks to everyone for the kind wishes and suggestions on my WordPress commenting problems. My problem was very simple, and I think I got it solved. I was on Akismet’s spam list, and one of my gracious readers helped me get through to Akismet support. There are sometimes more problematic reasons behind why one’s IP (the address that identifies the network from which you work) would be flagged by spam filters, but thankfully none of those sticky reasons were my situation. Computer is all clear, network is all clear!)

21 Comments

Are You a WordPress Blogger?

I’ve tried to avoid throwing up a random public service announcement, but it seems I have nowhere else to go. I’ve got to hit the streets (my blog) to solve this funny problem: WordPress peoples, I’m having trouble commenting on your blogs!

I’ll craft a comment and it just disappears into the inter-ether. This has been happening for over two months. Eventually, I just stopped commenting, and now watch some of my favorite blogs as a silent bystander! Would you help me? If you are a wordpress.com blogger, and I’ve ever left a comment on your blog, it’s highly possible you have one of my comments in your spam.

The same thing happens on those blogs which run their own wordpress software (wordpress.org) and which have Akismet turned on. I think Akismet flagged my IP. Has this happened to anyone else? It’s the only explanation I can think of and I’ve tried everything else on my end.

If you don’t know how to check, try looking in your comment spam and use the search tool to get past the hundreds of spammers trying to sell you counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags. (Am I the only one who gets those?)

I’ve also written WordPress and Akismet to try and solve my dilemma but I’m a month into trying to contact them and still no responses. Hence the PSI.

*If you use Disqus without activating Akismet to block spam, then I don’t usually have a problem.

Sorry to bother up the blog space with this. Now back to sewing blogging goodness…

UPDATE: Just found out that Akismet has definitely flagged my IP as spam, which bans me as a true commenter. Good to know I wasn’t going crazy. Stinks because now I know my comments have ended up in many a junk folder and will continue to end up in WordPress purgatory until they resolve it.

26 Comments

Lingerie Friday: Art Deco Lingerie (and Foam!)

art-deco-set-flat

Maybe it was all the Gatsby craze in the air. Or the Krypton set designs in Man of Steel. Blink and you’ll miss it, but I think there was an homage to the Spirit of Detroit statue–one of my favorite hometown attractions–in the “history of Krypton” scene. The rest of the movie bored me to pieces, but at least those set designs were cool. Neo-futuristic art deco. I can just hear the design team storyboarding: steel, industry, pittsburgh, steel, crumbling, detroit in the 20s…

Don’t you love how I manage to pitch Detroit hallmarks in some of my posts? It’s a part of my childhood.

Anyway, I love art deco and its mix of strong geometric symmetry with organic forms. Back in the spring, I scored some groovy rayon jersey with gold and black organic lines with no particular thought as to what it would be, but eventually it kept screaming art deco.

So I drew out an idea for a bra.

lingerie-sketch

It’s been a long time since I’ve drawn or sketched figures or fashion ideas, but there was a time I really enjoyed it. I took a few semesters of fashion illustration many years ago, but I’ve just never gotten that fast at it, and really get frustrated with colored pencils. If only I was better at watercolor…

Jersey doesn’t always work so well as an underwired cup fabric so I decided it was time to pull out foam cups. I’ve had these in my stash since I bought my very first bra-making kit.

foam-cup-covering

They are an unusual shape from what I’m accustomed to wearing, but I thought it was time I played around with them. For the cups, I wanted a two-piece cup cover with silk banding along the neckline. It is possible to drape a four-way stretch fabric completely over a cup without any darts or seams, but not only did I want to use two fabrics, both of them had limited two-way stretch. So I needed to make shaped cup pieces:

foam-cup-bra

To come with these pieces, I did a little draping experiment with some scraps of my fabric. Starting from the bottom of the cup, I pinned and smoothed the fabric, going upward until it wouldn’t lay flat anymore. Once pinned in place, I used a thin marker to draw around the cup edge and the line where the cup fabric stopped being smooth. This gave me the bottom piece. Then I did the same for the top piece, pinning from the neckline down. Once I had these two pieces, I traced the cut fabric shapes to paper and smoothed the lines out a bit till the seamlines matched. In words that probably sounds complicated but it really wasn’t! It’s just like draping, except on a really small and easy scale.

I started with my own frame and band and then figured out how to rotate the cups into the cradle. That part can be a bit of a puzzle at first. I pinned and repinned until I found the center bottom.

foam-cups-frame

I took lots of construction photos because I thought some would be curious about the process. But I think it’s a bit more fun to look at finished! I went for a little bit of bling in the form of gold hardware and silk accents…

deco-bra-details

The bottoms are a simple high-waisted shorty that I’ve made a few times now, but for this one I’ve added a ruching detail with to the back. I think I was a bit conservative in the ruching–I might go for even more in the next pair.

art-deco-set-collage

knicker-detail

Speaking of foam cup bras, many moons ago I promised a tutorial on how to use cut foam with a bra pattern. And some of you have kindly written me and asked, whatever happened to that?. I promise, I haven’t forgotten! I learned so much from running the sew-along about what steps to cover, what I actually have time to do, what I still don’t know about bra-making (because there is always more to know!) and so on, that I had to scrap my original tutorial. And guess what? I’ve just finished writing up a new one with lots of photos of the process. This time I got a friend to help me photograph because it’s really hard to sew and stop and shoot, over and over, by myself. (I end up unpicking a lot of seams when I do.)

So stay tuned. It should be ready in a week or so, and I’ll definitely be giving a heads up beforehand!

Details:
Patterns: self-drafted
Main fabrics: Rayon jersey (Stitched Austin), stretch silk charmeuse (Dharma Trading)
Powermesh: local Joann’s
Foam cups: Bra-makers Supply
Dye for silk ribbon and charmeuse: Jacquard Acid Dye, Jet Black
Trims, tricot lining and other notions: mostly Fabric Depot Co.

40 Comments

An American Girl

maritime-shorts-chambray

Yes I’m referencing Tom Petty and not the dolls. Derek and I recently re-watched the 2007 documentary Runnin Down A Dream. It’s four hours long! But it’s fantastic. If you didn’t “get” him before, you’ll be surprised at this Southern boy, big star story. Doesn’t matter if you’re a fan or not; music documentaries make you fall a little in love. I’m addicted to music history anyway. My first “real” post-college job was as a music critic; have I ever mentioned that?

I just threw out my red and white gingham rodeo shirt, which I’m a little bit sad about because that would’ve been a real winner for this outfit. (It was time–the shirt was 70s vintage and threadbare and way beyond repair.)

A couple of years ago, I went on a “great shirt fabric” binge, with the idea, of course, that I’d be making some awesome shirts for my man. I think he’s given up hope (“our house is turning into a bra factory!”). This chambray was among those. I just love classic quality chambray, so I bought enough for me, too. This fabric was already slightly on the heavier side for shirts, a bit more of New York shirt weight than an Austin weight, but perfectly swell for shorts. I was craving a kind of denim-y looking pair but not in actual denim, and was totally inspired by Jen’s chambray-ish version in her tutorial.

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The denim idea also inspired all the topstitching. I think I’m finally going to make jeans this winter, so I need some practice with that thick thread. Just the little bit of topstitching swallowed up a spool and a half and two bobbins! Note to self: buy lots of topstitching thread for your jeans, so you don’t run out halfway through the project!

I’ve practically lived in these shorts since I finished them. I just love that almost everything I made this summer is getting really, really worn. (The Cascade skirt makes its appearance at least twice a week!) It makes me feel happy to sew. This has been my most “I made this” summer yet. Derek was in a wedding over the weekend, and I was pulled out my dormant but absolutely wedding-perfect Cambie (along with the hat and shoes), which always feels a bit too girly for most days of my life. So I’m glad I make frosting, too. It was just too cool to get dressed up down to the handmade lingerie (this bra and matching knickers), and exclaim to myself: I made all of this! Sometimes you just have to stand back, admire, remind yourself how cool it is to sew.

Anyways, the shorts. I don’t have any good back shots. I just don’t have the sense of humor to show you the bad wedgies. I put a picture up, I took it down. And in the other half of the pics, I’m doing this:

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The shorts looks great when I allowed them fall naturally around my hips, but I kept having this weird instinct to pull them up (to the point of pulled-up too much in the back, ha!). The thing is, I LOVE high-waisted shorts and jeans because proportionally it looks and feels pretty great on me. On me, most patterns are too long between shoulder and waist and too short between waist and hip. So any rise six inches or less just feels and looks indecently low. I think to correct this problem in the next pair, I would probably take the shorts rise up by about an inch and then take in a little bit of the center back for a smooth fit.

I’m almost considering turning this pattern into jeans rather than start with a new pattern. But then I wondered if I actually need the traditional back yoke of jeans to help with fitting. What say you?

I hope you all have a lovely weekend! We are off to visit Derek’s family for an extended weekend, before the summer goes away.

Details:
Pattern: Grainline Maritime Shorts
Fabric: cotton chambray fabric, Emma One Sock

17 Comments

Agua Fresca Shorts

food-trucks-austin

Sweet potato fries with chipotle aioli. Topo Chico, the Pellegrino of Texas. And then finish it all off with a watermelon agua fresca. Not a really balanced lunch, but there were cucumbers in there somewhere. Seriously, these are things I crave in mid-summer and they are so so Austin. As are food trucks, which I know are a foodie phenomenon all over the globe now, but we have them year round because we eat outdoors year round, and they are a staple in every neighborhood. It makes sense that low overhead dining would take off in a city with skyrocketing real estate.

me-and-food-truck

My friend Steph and I decided to brave the afternoon for some corn dogs and other good-bad food. I’m pretty sure I was blending, or maybe not, in my watermelony brights. I was thinking about watermelons all week long, a flavor–and color–I crave at the height of summer. Today went into the 100s again but I still thought it’d be fun to some kind of summery shoot of me in my Argentinian blanket shorts.

Woo, I made them again! These are Grainline’s Maritime shorts pattern. Actually, I made two pairs and took photos of the second, but the others are a totally different vibe and fabric so it might be a different post. For now I’ll revel in food truck land right in the middle of the hot hot afternoon.

sweet-potato-fries

watermelon-agua-fresca

As you might remember, I made these exact same shorts in too small of a size, but I didn’t let that deter me. I was testing my luck because I refused to make a muslin. Too little time. Having to print out and re-tape the pattern all over again was going to be my only penance on this one! But then of course I added time by making two. What’s the logic in that? When I want to prove to myself that a pattern can’t beat me, I make two. Take that, you pattern, you!

For my new pairs, I went up a size, then added just a bit of width to the thighs by re-drawing the inseams and outseams. These are somewhat slim-fitting shorts and I don’t have little thighs. I like the new shape a lot better, it’s more relaxed. However, after a wearing or two on both my pairs the fabric really relaxed and the shorts started to fall down! Oh the things you learn about fitting!

maritime-shorts-brights

maritime-shorts

I need a personal valet to periodically dry me off in this heat. I just live with the wrinkles.

I mentioned before that this fabric ravels like a monster, so it was necessary to serge every edge before starting. After that, I really loved working with it. It’s a very loose weave (which also contributed to the fabric relaxing with wear) and even though it’s acrylic, they’re super soft and feel quite cool. This is a very easy to make shorts pattern. (There are lots of good supplemental tutorials on Jen’s blog.) I’ve sewn lots of shorts so I went in my own direction with construction order and fly zip method. I like the simple shape and style, a short short, and I’m super happy to have added a few shorts to the wardrobe. I’m not a major shorts girl, but I just live in them in the house all summer. I’m also really craving a high-waisted pair, too, in a crazy printed denim. I just might hack this pattern into all sorts of things. It’s a really good base from which to work.

I don’t have a lot of details to show, but if you look at my previous attempt at these, they’re finished identically. I used Radiance silk cotton to line the waistband and pockets. (Do you know about the wonder that is Radiance fabric? I have probably made 5 yards of bias tape of this stuff, skirts, blouses, and linings.)

me-and-texas-girls

As you can see, Austin gets all beach loose and cash by high summer. Tight little shorts and flip flops are a college girl uniform around my hood.

Details:
Pattern: Maritime Shorts
Main fabric: Aguayo blanket fabric, Sweet Llama Supplies
Lining: Radiance silk cotton poplin, fabric.com (long ago stashed!)
Blouse: my favorite find last summer!
Photos of me: Stephanie Press

15 Comments

Lingerie Friday: The Frameless Bra

frameless-bra-2

I love fashion etymology. My friends have been getting an earful education in lingerie definitions–things like nursing sling, cookie (you know, that insertable floating foam thing in bra cups), and longline. The distinction between a tanga, a boyshort, or a cheeky. (For example, the Ladyshorts pattern is drafted in a style of cheeky.)

Outside of poetic retail descriptions that often lump really different styles under the same terms, there are many distinct cuts and styles in underwear. In the first chapter of Bra-makers Manual II, Beverly Johnson reminds her readers that there really aren’t any standard naming conventions–in lingerie or in any apparel category. “The more a bra style evolves,” she writes, “the more specific its definition becomes.” She uses the example of padded bras, which twenty years ago referred to any bra with any kind of foam or fiberfill lining, but are now a distinctive (extra-padded) idea in the sea of foam-lined bras.

Among underwired bras, one could at least divide them into two main types: those with a frame and those without. The frameless bra is sometimes known in sewing as a “partial band bra”.

frameless-bra-cups

In frameless bras, the underwire and its casing are sewn into the cups, since there is no frame or cradle running under the cups. The wings and bridge have to be completely finished before sewing them into the cup. The cup seams are different than a framed bra, since there needs to be enough room for the wire to go into the cup. One of my patternmaking books calls it the “hook-up bra”, which I’m guessing means that the wings and bridge are “hooked up” to the cup?

I never really noticed the difference between the two types before I started making bras. When I looked through my older purchased bras, nearly all of them were frameless. So by default, that’s what I made for my first-ever bra. Since then I’ve veered into all kinds of new styles. I just love longlines, and that you can’t do with a frameless bra.

There are pros and cons for each. I find that the frameless bra is just a bit easier to sew, but it is also harder to modify into new styles. I tend to put more plusses under the frame bra since it can be a foundation for all sorts of other styles (bodysuits, longlines, strapless). On a frameless bra, there is a limit to how wide the band can be which is a con especially for larger cup sizes. A too-narrow band wouldn’t put enough balancing force in the back, causing the front to drop down. I have been thinking of the band as a lever. Wearing it more tightly is one solution but then there is the potential for pinched skin and pushing the elastic–and fabric stretch–to its limits. Then the straps want to absorb some of the pressure. All that to say, a wider band can alleviate strap pain, pinching, and help with a little smoothing.

But I still dig the frameless style, so I had a go at designing one of my own.

red-leopard-set

Last summer I spied a cute little leopard bra in one of my favorite lingerie shops and wrote it down on my “project idea list”. Oh that long wishlist. The muse did strike eventually, when I found the right fabric, an unusual jacquard mesh. I made the knickers right away but kept them neatly folded in a sewing drawer until I could get around to a matching bra. I’m just that particular about finishing. My studio is happily strewn with bits of lace lying about like lines of half-started poems. I also have notebooks full of just lines, phrases I hear right in that half-dream state when I’m about to fall asleep.

I’m so glad I experimented with this pattern. I drafted the cup with a single dart and used a plunge wire for a demi style. It’s the shortest cup I’ve made so far, but I really love how it fits and it has turned out to be a good style for me. The undies are a simple high-waisted knicker (the same pattern from which I based my bodysuit).

red-leopard-set-collage

Now how did I end up putting levers, red leopard and poetry in the same blog post?

Details:
Patterns: self-drafted
Main Fabric: leopard mesh from Etsy
Lining Fabrics:stretch mesh and sheer tricot lining, Fabric Depot Co.
Plush and strap elastics: Fabric Depot Co., a few from stash
Elastic and Lining Dye: Rit “Scarlet”

23 Comments

This Week in Wadders

wadder

Wadder: Does anybody know the origin (national, internet?) of this sewing term? It’s related to “wadding something up”, right? For my non-sewing-web friends, it means project bust.

Sewing is such a practical art. It doesn’t matter how beautiful a garment is, how impeccably done, if I can’t wear the end result, there’s not much use for it. Should I frame my bombs? Open an Etsy shop for wadders? What do you do with yours?

grainline-maritime-shorts

In this case, I made these adorable shorts over the weekend using the Maritime Shorts pattern from Grainline. They are a great “short shorts” style, a lot like a pair of some ikat store-bought shorts I’ve practically lived in for three summers. But I made the mistake of cutting them from a size which I’d already traced last summer (when I originally intended to make them), and it turned out to be too small of a size. Oops. It’s a great pattern so don’t let me stop you from trying. It does fit closely, so I’d recommend going by your hip size, which I did not do. I may also measure out the thigh on my next try.

This isn’t the first time I’ve made shorts that don’t fit, or the second. In all three pairs, I spent a lot of time on the tailoring details (using bias binding to around the pockets and things like that), because as you’ve probably noticed, I love being detail-oriented. And I have a hard time just tossing something so pretty. So my shorts have joined “The Rack”: my place where unfinished unfitted things go. I need to be motivated to go on a hemming binge, because that’s mostly what needs to be done here.

unfinished rack

I am going to make them again, after taking some time off (more lingerie!), with the yardage I have left. In case you’re wondering, this is aguayo fabric from Argentina. It unravelled at the speed of light, so that meant serging every edge before even stitching any pieces together.

aztec-blanket-fabric

I stole the idea for these from a friend who asked me if I thought it’d be possible to make some shorts out of her vintage Mexican blanket fabric. I thought it was the weirdest fabric for apparel and especially for shorts (it’s acrylic and quite woolly), but I fell in love with the colors and weave, and went hunting for my own blanket material. This got me researching and crushing on all sorts of South American prints and textiles. I’ll be sharing a bit more about this fabric in another post, so you can share my love!

18 Comments

Sheer Rosettes Bodysuit

sheer-mesh-bodysuit

I’ve never owned a bodysuit that didn’t function in some way as a practical top, but they appeal to me as “grown-up” fashion lingerie. Or a harkening back to an time when undergarments were more than just the very basics. Like slips–does anyone still wear slips? When I was a teenager, it was still common to wear them under skirts. When my mother took me shopping for my first nude slip and pantyhose, it felt like a coming of age experience. We were in the women’s, not the junior or kids, section. Slips kept unlined skirts and dresses from dragging. Pantyhose (we called them either that or just “hose”, although some folks might like the more vintage-y sounding “stockings”) functioned a bit like shapewear, while adding just a touch of color. It was all about finding the right “nude”. My friends and I were recently reminiscing about this–when we wouldn’t of been caught dead with bare legs in a skirt, no matter how hot the weather!

So bodysuits… Way back in February, I posted some of my inspirations and soon after jumped into drafting one. I started with a variation on one of my bra patterns and went from there.

bodysuit-on-form

bodysuit-inside

I’ve got a few different bodysuit styles I’m eager to try but I really wanted to get some practice with underwired shelf bras. They’re not too difficult if you’ve gotten the hang of making a bra. This technique for putting in these bra cups is almost the same as one might do for a swimsuit. (Though as much as I love this Zimmerman swimsuit, one of my original inspirations, I just can’t imagine swimming in underwires.) I played around with holding different color linings underneath, but the nude was definitely best for a sheer look.

If I were going to a desert island and I had to pick one lingerie fabric, it’d probably be sheer mesh. Okay, maybe silk charmeuse. Ask me again in a few months. But I seem to be sewing with mesh a lot lately. This is a very light, silky soft stretch mesh I bought from Britex on a trip to San Francisco a couple years ago. You can see from my sidebar that I also used it for samples of my Ladyshorts. I still have a lot left so who knows what else it will become!

bodysuit-sheer-mesh

bodysuit-details

Lately, I’ve been adding in silk details where I can, like these little silk ribbon rosettes and handmade snap tape from silk charmeuse–which makes it a lot easier to slip on and off. I think this is what I love the most about making lingerie–sitting down at the end with a needle and thread and adding the special details.

Details:
Bodysuit pattern: self-drafted
Stretch mesh: Britex
Lining fabrics: nude 15 denier tricot in the cups and stretch mesh in the band, both from my stash
Channeling, ribbon and charmeuse dyed with Jacquard Acid Dye in Black

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27 Comments

Baring

cascade skirt by megan nielsen

Wow, the sun was disappearing on the horizon and it was still 105° as I was taking these pictures. Gulp. I feel like a wilting flower. Last week Austin went into an intense early heatwave and I tried hard to stay indoors especially during the afternoons. I think future summer outfit posts may have to be inside, too, but then of course I wouldn’t get to twirl about and let a skirt like this catch a hint of breeze.

cascade skirt

cascade skirt

This is the Cascade skirt pattern by Megan Nielsen, and exactly the kind of skirt I like to wear in summer. It has lots of elegance with no effort and is cool as a cucumber. This is something I just adore about my Lonsdale dress, and I’m thinking of making another one of those this summer, too. As soon as I saw Megan’s new collection, there was no pausing: I immediately went on the hunt for a light and drapey rayon print. The pattern is a simple design, a circle skirt with a graduated hem that wraps over in front, and when I walk about the hem has a lovely petal-like floating.

My man loved that part so much, we did a little “short” so you can see the cascading in action! Check it out on Vimeo. It’s my first attempt at editing video so I’m a little shy…

I was thinking of cascades when I braved the heat to the area where I took these pictures. There is a lovely little rocky stream along the part of Shoal Creek that runs through my neighborhood. It has a gentle sound, not waterfalls of the sort that Megan Nielsen was surely inspired by, but the trickle of a creek over limestone. Something I mightily needed on this day. I was willing to brave chiggers and heat to get to it but alas it was dry to the bone.

tube top

Outside of the pictures, I was barefoot all day and the shoes were a bit of an afterthought. I normally wear them out with shift dresses, and I think I like this skirt better barefoot. And bare-shouldered: I tried on a bunch of tops with this and decided that it just begged to go with a tube top. (Do we still call them that?) Of course I didn’t have any tube tops, so I made a pattern for one and sewed it all in an afternoon. I think it might look better, less bunchy, as a bodysuit and would need a little shelf bra to be truly, ahem, effective, but I really wanted it quick.

This skirt is total instant gratification sewing. It makes you look like you know what you’re doing, and quickly! Gotta love that. But since it borders on circle skirt territory and a baby hem is really the only option here, hemming is a patient exercise. Cutting and sewing main part of the skirt: 1 hour. Hemming: another hour. Anyone who’s hemmed a circle skirt groans with me!

cascade skirt and tube top

And p.s.: The original pattern is quite is long in the back. An easy way to figure out the right length is to measure the center back piece from waist to hem, which was almost ankle length on me. I’m 5’4″. I removed about 6 inches from the back hem length so it would hit mid-calf, slowly curving and tapering to nothing just past the side seams.

Details:
Skirt pattern: Cascade from Megan Nielsen
Skirt fabric: lightweight viscose woven, Emma One Sock
Strapless top pattern: self-drafted
Top fabric: cotton-modal jersey, hand-dyed (dye is Dharma Trading Procion, “Antique Lace”)
Gold strap rings: stash

27 Comments

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.

15 Comments