Bra-Making: an exercise in patience

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, I’ve been exercising 😅. Making bras!

As you know, I’ve been on a quest to a well fitting bra. I’ve been a patron of the well known Victoria’s Secret for many years. Yes, I know that’s a taboo mention among many makers, but it’s the truth. They’ve fit me well enough or so I thought…until recently.

Back in February I attended a seminar presented by Monica O’Rourke of Bravo Bella on a well fitting bra. Here is a video snippet with an introduction to what she taught.  I learned how to conceptualize fit in terms of the physics of the breast and the engineering of support.  It’s the sort of science nerdy stuff that I really enjoy 🤓. With that information and her bra pattern, I believe I am very close to a next to perfect fit.

The apex is slightly off
The apex is slightly off

Now for some exercise and I don’t mean the kind that you sweat from physically strenuous activity.  This exercise does cause a bit of perspiration; an exercise in patience.

One of the tools I have been using are ALL of the Craftsy classes by Beverly Johnson, they are TOL in my opinion. I thought I’d get creative and try using this pattern to make a partial band bra. This is one of the techniques in her second class. However, brave set in and I decided to make a dropped bridge too. The instructions were easy to follow, having to redraft from my well-fitting bra…should have worked. This bra however was an epic F.A.I.L.!


I tried so hard on this one, using stretch satin with an overlay of mesh. I used shear bra cup lining to maintain fit. What I didn’t recall hearing was that in a partial band bra, the cup is made bigger by the width of the channeling. This shouldn’t create a huge bra, but for me it did. I was so dissapointed 😩. I learned one very important thing…I am not experienced enough to start redrafting bra patterns. First I must “do my time” and make several more bras of different styles in order to better understand bra design and fit. This was not only an exercise in patience, but an “Ah-Ha!” moment for me.

Until next time!




COMPLETED: Almada, Silk Robe


I am in love…

I subscribe to Seamwork Magazine and have since it’s inception.  If you don’t know, it’s an e-magazine (aka ezine) put out by Collete Patterns monthly.  As a subscriber, you get credits to use towards patterns published with the magazine.  A few months ago they featured lingerie and one of the patterns was Almada.  She is a very loose and airy robe, perfect for the up and coming Summer!  I have wanted to make this up, but was waiting for the perfect fabric pairing.

I think I’ve found it.  I have an out of control stash, and finding that it overwhelms me at times.  I bought this silk panel (5yards/panels) a couple of years ago on a huge sale.  I think I paid $5 per yard/panel.  I thought I would be using it for lining a jacket.  That of course never materialized…pun!  AlmadaFront (2)

As of late, my sewing has been flopping…not going well at all.  Of course, it is primarily with bra-making.  So I needed a success darn-it!!

Even with a slippery fiddly fabric like silk, I set out to make this a success and think I hit the mark.  I sort-of experimented with finishing techniques throughout because I just didn’t want to waist any time and wanted a completed garment.  I did however read through the instructions twice to make sure I was not going to miss any special notes.  The construction is very basic and will allow the beginner sewist to learn a technique or two, so is a good easy pattern for a newer sewist to grow in her techniques.

On with my robe.  A couple of considerations I needed to sort out before I began cutting, were how to handle the panels with regard to placement of the pattern pieces.  Silk is not friendly with handling so I wanted to make sure much of the seams appeared intentional as far as placement even if I couldn’t pattern match everywhere.

As it turned out, the back piece (original has a CB seam) could fit nicely over the whole medallion so I omitted the CB seam and centered the motif.  For the front pieces, I tried to place them so that the shoulder seam could match somewhat.  The border around the medallion matches quite nicely although the rest of it not so much.  The coloring of the print makes it not so noticeable so I am very happy with the finish.  When I layed it out flat to mark the tie placement, I noticed the the medallion on the front is an exact match to the back ….wooohooo!! I didn’t even think about that and was a very happy accident 🙂  For the hem, I chose to forgoe the baby hem and used the 3-thread rolled hem on my serger…she does very well with this stitch.  The only thing I am not super pleased with is the side/underarm and shoulder seam finishes.  These were the first seams I did and used a combo of finishes to decide what I wanted.  The first was straight stitch with 3-thread narrow overlock…my serger would not cooperate and it is quite messy (thus no pictures of the inside).  The second was the overcast stitch on my standard sewing machine which I trimmed close.  It is not bad, just not as professional as I like.

After I was done, I remembered a tutorial done by Gail Yellen (YouTube) where she demonstrated how to make a tidy narrow seam finish similar to a french seam with your serger.  Darn-it, I should have done this but it was too late at that point…next time, right?


I have never had a Summer robe, and certainly not one made of 100% silk, but now I do and feel my sewing mojo coming back :)!  This robe makes me feel so feminine and pretty.  I say, every woman needs a beautiful silk robe to remind her that she is beautiful and worthy of luxury.  Go forth and make yourself something luscious and pretty.  Thanks for reading 🙂

x G

p.s. I am sharing this post on Gray All Day: Sew it Chic June…go on over to see the other posts.  Helena brings together some of our community of bloggers who are showcasing their latest makes :).  Lets see if we can inspire or get inspired!



Bra Making…custom-fit!

As I said, although a bit later than promised, I’m back with some progress on my customized bra fit.

I thought I’d provide a proper review with my last post, I thought I’d include it here so that you can see the actual breakdown of adjustments.

Pattern Review: Bravo Bella Bra 2

Description: A full band, 4-piece cup seam designed for maximum support and a round shape, from website.

Sizing: Multi-sized master pattern includes sizes 32D-I, 34D-I, 36D-I, 38D-I, 40D-I, 42D-I, 44D-I, 46D-I, 48D-I.

I learned how to think about bra sizing while attending a seminar by Monica O’Rourke…my size in this pattern is a 32D. My RTW size is 34B. Who knew!!

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes and no…I used my own experience along with her DVD and the pattern instruction just to keep on track. I will add that I have taken Beverly Johnson’s Craftsy classes and have learned quite a bit. I highly recommend all of the :).


It actually feels like it truly fits. It does not give me weird, pointy or squished boobs. The support is amazing. I can jump up and down and don’t feel as if the girls are going to rip from my chest.  Another little nugget of goodness is that it doesn’t take any rings or sliders, so if you don’t want to source the little fiddly bits you don’t have to.  The strap attachment on the side cup is to short to allow for a nice match with the strap. But this is an easy fix with a little redrafting…which I love to do. 🤓

Fabric Used:  Nylon tricot and firm power net. All items were included in a kit purchased from Bravo Bella.  The underwires were also purchased from BB, they are Flexlite and are so much more comfortable than the very rigid punched steel that are widely available.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Bra #1, none.  I had a bit of boob-bulge on the left neckline, back fat and the band was way too tight.

Bra #2: 

Band: placed pattern with DOGS horizontal, added 1/2″ at 1″ from side seam. It should be noted that the pattern designer has you place the back band diagonally so that the DOGs provide much stronger support, however with small breasts it is not necessary.

Upper Cup: raised CF 1/4″

Side Cup/Strap Attachment: lowered 1 1/2″ and re-drafted the neckline and armhole curve blending to CF and SS.

I still felt like the band was too tight along the upper edge from the side seam around my back to where my shoulder-blade ends; back fat bulging. Just not attractive 😩.

Bra #3:

I kept the above and added another 1/2″ to the back band, it is still too snug for my taste. For comfort and movement I added elastic strap extenders.  The front strap attachment is re-drafted so that when the elastic is turned back and sewn to the strap it is the same width and looks prettier.😃

This one turned out the best so far.  I found that when I wore my bra for a day, the apex of the cup didn’t quite align with my breast apex (nipple). Everything that I’ve read says that they are to align, which is supposed to minimize show through when wearing closer fitting garments.  It’s funny how we can be happy with a make, but find imperfections with each.  My next bra will be tweaked slightly. I guess it’s considered fine tuning. And why not?

Notes for Bra #4:

Raise the depth of the band at the SS by 1/2″ and re-draft the armhole to cover more breast tissue in the upper cup. Still thinking about this one.

Re-draft the upper cup for a smooth finished edge without elastic.

Remove the strap extension from the upper cup and create a strap attachment point so that I can use a different type of decorative strap.

Create a partial band bra….once ALL fit changes are set in stone.

Try a lace application, all over or just the upper cup.  The sky is the limit!

Thanks for reading. What kind of bra making experience do you have? Few or many fitting adjustments? Do tell in the comments.




Bra Making Challenge 2016

Making my own bras has interested me for the past three years.  I’ve jumped on the Watson band wagon and really liked the two that I made.  It was a fairly easy bra to begin with and as such a confidence boost.  I’ve tried three others that were not the right shape for my girls…not that I have difficult to fit boobs or anything. LOL  I am used to those padded pre shaped VS bras and will never get used to pointy boobs, which is mostly what I ended up with.

I’ve been following Erin of EmeraldErin for some time now.  Her skill is beyond amazing and she is a terrific resource for bra making.  She does a challenge every year where she and anyone else can choose to make a bra each week, month, or as often as able. She takes submissions via email, Pinterest and Instagram and rounds up on the last Sunday of each month with a blog post.

I am a late joiner to this challenge…but hey better late than never, I amiright?


My committment is to make a wearable bra by the end May this year. To further my own challenge, I want to perfect the fit and duplicate my pattern onto card stock so that I can use it as a design block and make beautiful custom pretties that I will be proud to wear without spending a fortune in the process. So, no weekly bra makes for this gal!

I will be back tomorrow with a post about the bra that I’ve found…and made! So stayed tuned and in the meantime check out Erin’s blog if you haven’t already and don’t forget to tell me about your bra making, real or wis he’d for in the comments.



COMPLETED: Morgan Boyfriend Jeans!

Closet Case Files has done it AGAIN. I love my Ginger’s, but now am loving my boyfriend jeans a.k.a. Morgan Boyfriend Jeans.  I jumped on the denim kit this time around when Heather posted.  I hesitated for, like…30seconds.  Clicked away, then right back.  I ordered even though I really don’t need all the fixin’s as my stash is pretty stocked with zippers, rivets, buttons and thread.  The kits she puts together are just fun!

I couldn’t wait, though…until the rigid denim in my kit arrives.  I had some stretch denim that I decided to use knowing full well that they are meant for a non-stretch denim.  I only pre-washed my yardage one time realizing that they probably would shrink up a tad more.  I printed the PDF (yes, I bought that during the 30-seconds of kit purchase hesitation :blush:).  My first attempt at putting it together was a disaster!  My own hurried fault.  I scrapped it and reprinted, waited until after work this time.  It taped up without flaw.  Before choosing my size, I measured a pair of boyfriend jeans I just spent a large stack of bills on….Joe Jeans.  I love them and they are so comfy!  Here are a couple of pics I had saved for outfit inspiration.

Anyway, the Morgan’s finished measurements were almost exactly the same as my Joe’s.  I picked the size 12 since I wanted a relaxed fit although not baggy.  I cut out the size 12 across the board.

Since these are my first version, meant for deciding what adjustments might be needed, I had some fun with the stitching details. First off, I used a white cotton shirting for the pockets and the waistband casing.  The only pieced I interfaced were those suggested in the pattern, the fly facing and shield…oh and the area where the button and buttonhole are in the waistband.  I used pink serger thread for the seam allowance finishing…real men wear pink, right?  Boyfriend jeans need a little pink!! 😉


I have made a button fly before, but they didn’t really turn out that great…the instructions were a little confusing. The fly works, but the buttons were a little crooked…off center.  Heather does an amazing job walking you through creating this fly.  I am loving the button fly for a couple of reasons.  1) No worries about breaking a needle when attaching the waistband. Yay!  2) It is authentic for jeans, specifically boy jeans ;).  My fly turned out very well if I do say so myself.  One thing that I always do with the fly shield is to cut one of the edges along the selvage as I really like the appearance when it is finished.  You can see part of the selvage edge along the seam when the fly is unbuttoned which is a cool design detail.


This brings me to the design details.  Since I used pink on the inside, I thought I would be selective about where and how much pink I wanted on the outside.  The other top stitching is with a dark navy  thread along the seam edge with a smoky light blue 1/4″ away from the first line…the same on the back pockets.  Back to the pink. I wanted to use an unexpected touch by stitching an “X” on the left pocket facing just to see if I liked it…and I do!  Then I used pink as the top stitching down each hip seam just beyond the pocket lining marked with a smaller “X” to mimic the pocket facing.  The last place for pink is the waistband buttonhole.  For the coin pocket, I used the selvage along the top edge folding it forward then back to ensure the top edge wasn’t too thin.  I love all the details I did on these jeans and will likely use them on my next pair(s) ;).

As for the fit…pretty spot-on out of the shoot.  The pics above are after a full day of wearing in my car…on the road.  I am a home health nurse so I spend a lot of time sitting in my car; especially because I serve a primarily rural community. The denim I used stretches but I find that it didn’t overstretch.  They are still comfy without being baggy. Heather recommends going down a size or two (I think…) if using a stretch although she is very clear that this jean is NOT drafted for stretch fabric.  I went in knowing that it may not work well.  I am happy enough and will likely NOT make any changes for my first rigid pair.  That just sounds super uncomfortable, right? lolz

As a side note, I had been thinking about adding the traditional leather patch on the waistband of my future jeans makes, and then Heather added this detail on the Morgan Boyfriends.  It was fun to add and I think it makes them even more RTW looking.  My Brother machine has handled all sorts of fabrics no matter the thickness or fiber type, but ever since it went to get routinely serviced…it keeps skipping stitches even over thin areas. Ugh!  I have tried EVERYTHING.  What I ended up doing which was probably not good for her was to push down on the needle bar so the needle and hook were sure to meet.  Yikes!  Anyone have a solution?  I probably will need to take her back to the shop :(.

You might be wondering…What is that top?  Well stay tuned…I will blog about it shortly ;).

Tell me about your jeans dreams…have you made them?  What keeps you from stitching up your own jeans…custom style?

Until then,

Sew a button on your underware!


MMMAY2016 week #1 Roundup!

My very first me made may participation has been a success. I wasn’t sure how I was going to post, daily or weekly or one big bang at the end of the month.  I think weekly is the way to go…it takes time to put together all the photos and words to go with. Besides, work has been in a word… a WHIRLWIND! (well 2words :))


My pledge was to wear an outfit daily, at least 2 me-made items. I am taking the weekend off…still wearing me-mades, but no selfies;).  Starting from top right…

Blouse: SilhouettePatterns #600; Boyfriend Jeans: Burda 6798

Top: PaprikaPatterns Onyx; Pant: Tessuti Demi

Jacket: BurdaStyle Sporty Parka; Pant: BurdaStyle 7447

Dress: Tessuti Annie; Sweater (not pictured 😦 sorry): MusePatterns Jenna Cardi

Skirt: PaulineAlice Rosari; Undies (definitely not pictured ;)): ClothHabit Watson Bikini

Reviews are coming on those not blogged already.

What have you worn…blogged, reviewed or not? Share in the comments…I love to read them :).

Winner! Pass-the-Pattern

Happy Mother’s Day for all the Mommas out there! I hope you all are spending your day with feelings of bliss.image

For new followers, PTP is explained here. With Spring in full swing and Summer close behind, this is a winner of a pattern. It sews up extremely fast and without sleeves, uses minimal yardage. For those in the Southern Hemisphere, the sleeve option and an appropriate fabrication…you will enjoy her as well.

With only two entries 😞, it was not necessary to use a random number generator…a bit overkill don’t ya think? So I put each name on a tiny folded post it and my husband picked from his cap.  Congratulations to Susan at susansewsdaily!  I will email you privately for your address, but you need to put your email address in the comments 😊. I can’t wait to see what Susan comes up with 😀.  As well, I am excited to get Susan’s pattern choice from her stash.

Thanks to the both of you, Deb and Susan for joining in on the fun. And thank you Marijana and Lesley for starting PTP.




COMPLETED: Tessuti Demi Pant

Edited: like I promised….here are pics of my first Demi’s aka clown-pants. This is definitely a term of endearment! I love them….did I say that already?


As soon as this pattern came out…I made the purchase! I love this style…comfy and trendy. I tried a Style Arc Ethel Designer Pant pattern, sort of similar a while back and it was disastrous. I tried to alter the pattern and in my haste, I did not copy the master pattern and completely ruined it beyond recognition. So garbage it went :(.

But….this pant is super cute! I have had this Linen fabric in my stash for a IMG_1197while now, I think a year or so…bought for some culottes that never materialized. It is actually a border print with sort-of rayon embroidered multi-sized dots. I love me some polka dots :).

Preparing for the make, I tried on the fabric by coloring in the line drawing. IMG_1218I wanted a more random placement of the border, but was unable to achieve this due to only having 2 yards. I feared them looking like clown pants, which was the case with my Style Arc fail, and I love this fabric so wanted to avoid it at almost any cost. Hubs gave the thumbs up (he is really honest :/).
So off I went. The pattern instructions are very well done and include real pictures to boot. I didn’t need them, although admit to perusing and following along agreeably. The finished measurements that matter are provided for the size small..bonus! as this was my size according to the body measurements. BTW they are in metric, so you will need to convert to imperial if that is the way you roll. I am a shorty at 5’3″ so I shortened them by 2 inches and this happened to be the grayed out section on the pattern so I didn’t have to draw in my own cutting/folding lines-yay :). This fit is spot on. Here is a link to my [review] on PR if you like.

I confess, I’ve had these for 3weeks! And still forget to take a picture, argh!!! So all you get of my polky-dots is my sketch and swatch pic….I PROMISE TO TAKE A PICTURE THE VERY NEXT TIME I WEAR THEM!!
You will have to settle for pPair number two… Equally loved as they feel like I am wearing a cloud on each leg. I kid you not, they find my body at least once per pair per week.

Check out those genie shoes!!

The thing on this make that I am most proud of, is the bound hem…it looks so profesh!  A new technique I learned with this pant is how they did the waistband casing.  They call it a tunnel…cute ;).  After neatening the raw edge, they have you fold over the casing amount and then edge-stitch at the fold.  This is how the finished elasticated waist remains relatively flat looking …and profesh! I think I heard about this technique a while ago, but never occured to me to do until reading it in these instructions.

Have you seen these pants over at Tessuti?  If so…share a link in the comments to your finished pants.  If not, get on over their and get this pattern…you won’t be sorry ;).

#MMMAY16 …a first for ME

My Pledge:

I, Genevieve of Sew-a-Button-on-Your-Underware!, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16.  I endeavor to wear an outfit including at least two me-made items each day for the duration of May 2016.

This is super exciting for this newbie blogger. Every year for the past six, I admire those whom participate and am in awe of the dedication to wearing handmade clothes. Each are proudly showing the once lost skill, now much more appreciated through, in part, the world wide online community of sewers like you and me ;).

My pledge also includes an unstated desire to advertise to all that sewing our own clothing is not merely a hobby, but instead a highly skilled art of  pairing a specially curated piece of cloth with a pattern chosen just for it.

If you too want to participate you can go here to read all about the deets and decide if it’s a fit for you!

Day 1 is perfect for a Sunny Sunday!

It’s the Rosari skirt reviewed here. I must disclose however, I did not make my top, I bought it about 6 years ago at Macy’s. But to justify, I made my undies 😜 so I still consider it an outfit, right?? I love this top and thought it was perfect paired with my skirt.

COMPLETED: 70’s inspired Rosari Skirt

I am working on my Summer wardrobe and loving the boho trend right now. This skirt caught my eye a while back.  About the pattern:  Rosari Skirt by Pauline Alice; A-Line skirt, button opening in front with two length choices. Included are FOUR, yes 4, pocket options. I chose the PDF for the sake of instant grat 😉 and it was quick to put together.

Sizing: Euro 34 to 48. I used size 40 which closely matched my body measurements. She says the pattern is drafted for a 5′ 5″ woman.

Fabric: she suggests a woven or medium weight fabric with body. Ideas are denim, courduroy, suede…etc. I really really wanted a denim skirt, my denim was a 3/4yd piece left over from some jeans I’d made some time ago. This would be my fitting muslin.
Notions:  I used spring snaps for my closure for two reasons. 1) I have an AMAZING snap press and it’s fun to use. And 2) who wants to sew 8 perfectly aligned buttonholes crossing fingers and praying the whole time?! Well not me ;).  I used regular thread that blended well as I did not want to detract from the zippers or snaps.  My zips are YKK jeans zippers, purchased at wawak.

Instructions:  I didn’t really need them, but as I’ve said before…I always go by them with a first make in order to find any technique that may be specifically helpful and for reviewing. She does an adequate job at explaining. However a beginner sewer may get hung up, for instance, after completing the first front facing piece because the instructions don’t have a “repeat for the left fron”. I know this is persnickety, but hey….this type of omission used to trip me up in the beginning when I required hand-holding.  One more thing, a preference really, is she instructs to interface both waistband pieces…that would make it too stiff for me. I only used light tricot interfacing on the inner band.

Likes/Dislikes:  The fit is perfect!  Note….loudly….the mini skirt length is shoooort. I am barely 5’3″ and pretty average proportioned. If I were 5’5″ or more, yikes. Considering this is an a-line skirt, when one bends ever so slightly, well can I just SA peep show!  Lady-like curtsy is the way to go here :D.  As for the drafting, she has done an excellent job as all markings and seam lines come together without a problem.  As for the design….loved the zipper pockets. I am not a fan of back pockets on a skirt, to me they always look weird.

Notes for next time:  And there will be another coming down the shoot. I want a suede semi-mini.  I think I will add 1″ internally as I want to maintain the sweep. That’s it!!

Now for the phot dump


Pleeeze leave me a comment if you know of a good source for some light weight suede….the real stuff!

The insides are just as nice looking although I just used my serger to finish the raw edges, but using a Hong Kong finish is definitely going to be on a 3rd version. I may open her up and add a pic after she is laundered 😊.

BTW, I just love the cross-hatch on this denim although it’s slight.