Month: March 2017

New Activewear

I used the Watson Bra pattern by Cloth Habit and the Virginia Legging pattern by Megan Neilsen to make a new activewear set! I plan to wear this set to yoga classes along with a shirt, but here are some photos to show off my handiwork.

Cloth habit Watson bra Virginia leggings Megan Nielsen

The Virginia Leggings came together quickly because there are only three pattern pieces. I made the high-waisted version in under an hour. I used a serger for all steps of construction, did a roll hem on my serger instead of hemming with a zig-zag stitch. I have my eye on a coverstitch machine (Bernina L 220), and I plan to hem them with a coverstitch eventually.

Virginia leggings Megan Nielsen

The fabric is a kaleidoscope-printed nylon/lycra fabric purchased two years ago from thefabricfairy.com. Bra notions were purchased from Erin at The Emerald Studio on Etsy, and of great quality! The elastic I purchased, both picot edge and strapping, has better recovery than what is typical on RTW bras. And, I hope you follow Erin’s lingerie sewing blog, Emerald Erin, or you are missing out! She always has some gorgeous bra eye candy! And, she is hosting a giveaway right now that ends Sunday!

I modified the watson pattern by using swimwear elastic on the neckline to make it look a little more like a sports bra than a bralette. I still used picot elastic on the hem and underarm though. I also used two layers of fabric in the cups for some extra compression since I’ll be wearing this to workout.

Dad, if you are reading this, you might want to stop reading now because I am going to talk about bra sizing (your welcome). Yes, he reads my sewing blog, and yes, he IS the best dad ever!

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First, let me say thank you to the ladies that have reviewed this pattern before me. Thank you for having the courage to post the bra selfies of the projects that didn’t fit (or any bra projects at all for that matter)! Your reviews with pics saved me so much time by helping me find the correct size to make! I am sharing the following information to “pay it forward” to other sewists who may share my same measurements.

Like others that have made the watson, sewing the bra in my RTW size fits better than the size the pattern recommended based on my measurements. Cloth habit Watson bra Also, the band size seems to run a little small. First off, I am always a 32 band size (and always on the tightest set of hooks) and either a C or D cup in RTW, but the Cloth Habit sizing guide suggested I should make a 30D.
Since others said the band ran small, I made the 32 band size, and still, it is very snug. The middle row is ok for working out, but I use the loosest hooks when I am going to be wearing it for more than an hour. On me, the front cradle piece is not long enough, so the side seams are too far forward as demonstrated by my lovely dress form. The side seams on the bra should line up with the side seam on my dress form. The I think once I add 3/8″ to each side of the front cradle piece, the back will close with more wiggle-room (literally). For the cup sizing, I was torn on what cup size to make so I printed out the pattern pieces for the front cradle in the 32C and the 32D, glued them to card stock and held the stiff pattern up to myself like I was fitting underwires for a wired bra. If you decide to do this, keep in mind the 1/4″ seam allowance is present and the diameter of the cups will be slightly narrower on the pattern than the finished bra.

Besides the sizing dilemma, it is a really great pattern and worth tweaking until you get it right!    It is as jiggle-proof as a sports bra but with more definition than the “sports bra uniboob” look. Ha! I am eager to make another Watson Bra with only one layer of fabric in the cups to see if there is a dramatic difference in support.

 

Virginia leggings Watson bra cloth habit Megan Nielsen

And a big thank you to my friend Rheney for taking these photos!

Happy sewing and namaste!

Corded Buttonhole Tutorial

I haven’t seen other sewists using corded buttonholes, so I’m here to share a simple technique that will give you better buttonholes on tricky fabrics! I used this technique on my esme cardigan in my last blog post!

Corded buttonholes can be used for practical reasons as it provides extra stabilization when used with interfacing on fabrics like bouclé, sweater knits, and stretch wovens. It also works great on buttonholes that are extra long. Long buttonholes tend to sag open on some fabric creating the “duck lip” look. Duck lips look just as bad on buttonholes as they do in selfies!

Corded buttonholes can also be used for purely aesthetic reasons too. Regular buttonhole stitching can disappear on thick fabrics, but corded buttonholes can create 3D stitching that looks great on denim, corduroy, suiting, and coating fabrics.

It is essential that you use interfacing appropriate for your fabric. If you are working with a knit fabric, you must use a fusible tricot interfacing so the interfacing stretches with the fabric. For woven fabrics, I prefer to use a woven fusible as opposed to non-woven, but this is more of a personal preference. I recommend using perle (also called pearl) cotton for the cord. It is available in many colors so you can match your thread, and it is heavily twisted and will not separate unlike embroidery floss. I used size 5 DMC brand. Size 5 is about the largest you could use for this application. If you are sewing a corded buttonhole in a thinner fabric and do not want a 3D look, you can use buttonhole twist thread for stability without a difference in appearance.

Here is how I make corded buttonholes on my Bernina. Consult your machine’s manual for for tips using your machine.

1. Mark the buttonhole placement, and apply the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric according to the manufacturer’s directions.

2. Set up your machine for a buttonhole stitch. Lower the needle of your machine into the fabric, but don’t lower the presser foot yet.

3. Cut about eight inches of  cord. Loop the cord over the front middle “toe” of the foot and bring the cord ends under the foot and hold them in your left hand behind the presser foot.  The needle will be inbetween the threads. (Some buttonhole feet have a prong in the back for cording. In this case, you would loop the cord over the back prong and hold the ends in front of the presser foot.)

Sewing a corded buttonhole Bernina presser foot
4. Lower the presser foot. Double check that the cord is on either side of the needle. The cord needs to be close to the needle so the cord will be within the zig-zag stitch when the buttonhole is stitched.

Corded buttonhole tutorial Bernina presser foot
5. Stitch the buttonhole, and loosely hold onto the cord. The cord will slide through your fingers as the buttonhole is being stitched. Go slowly, and make sure the cord doesn’t slip out of place.

6. Pull the loose ends of the cord to get rid of the loop. Thread both the cord ends through a hand sewing needle with a large eye, and insert the needle at the base of the buttonhole pulling the extra cord to the wrong side of the fabric. Tie a knot, and trim the ends. You are done!

Sewing corded buttonhole tutorial

Here is a side by side comparison of a corded buttonhole (bottom) and a regular buttonhole (top) on coated cotton canvas fabric.

Sewing corded buttonhole buttonholes tutorial
Here is another comparison with very long buttonholes on a heavy knit fabric. The corded buttonhole is on the left.

Sewing corded buttonholes in knit fabric
Here is another picture after the buttonholes were cut open and the fabric was stretched a bit to simulate wear. See how the corded buttonhole lays flat and doesn’t stretch out?

Sewing corded buttonholes in knit fabric
Have you ever tried corded buttonholes in the past? Are you going to use this technique on a future project? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments!