23 April 2014

Sew Sexy Sew-Along: Final Post Part II The Reveal!

I had a little too much fun yesterday pretending I was a Bond girl while photographing my bustier. You only live twice...or so they say...so why spend it sewing frump?

Size: 40/14 Bust 36 1/4", Waist 29 1/4", Hip 38 3/4"
Challenge: Sew Sexy Sew Along 2014
Rating: 3/5
Fabric, etc.: 1 yard stretch pleather from Spandex World and 1 yard hook and eye tape from Mood Fabrics
Needle Size: #9 microtex, #14 microtex 
Thread: Poly/cotton wal-mart brand thread, then coats and clarks universal and topstitching
Cost: $34.95
Time: I accounted for the first 10 hours but that was mostly the muslin. I would estimate close to 50 by the time I'm truly done.
  •  I cut out a size 40, but even accounting for a little ease doesn't excuse how large this came out. I had to take in 4" in the center back seam, which is why the straps ended up buried in my armpit. However, the cups fit, which was my biggest worry based on other people's makes, so I guess it worked out in the end. I wear a DD cup so if you're larger than a B you should take this into account.
  • I still need to put boning in the cups. I thought the stability of the fabric would mean no boning but I was wrong.
  • I didn't add a lining.
  • For regular stitching I used a #9 microtex needle, universal thread, stitch length of 2.5/4 and a tension of 3. Topstitching worked best with a #14, topstitching thread, stitch length of 4/4 and a tension of 5.
  • What did take me forever was the topstitching. I started with a #9 microtex and doubled up on regular thread. Because I had such a small needle, it wasn't making holes big enough in the fabric. I had to sew every topstitched seam at least 3 times (and then rip it all out) before I might get a good row. By the time I got to the back "yoke" my machine was so upset I tried about 10 times, then finally did it in sections. Part of this is that I had cheap thread with fuzzy lumps in it and that my machine's take-up lever doesn't have a hole through which you thread it, just a hook. One or both threads would jump out and tangle around it and grind everything to a halt.
  • The cups were very fiddly to assemble. You cannot just stretch to ease in pleather spandex - it creates ugly bubbly puckery seams. 
  • The instructions, which are the reason I never sew from Burdastyle patterns, were as awful as ever. There are about 4 pieces that have to go in the front closure in a certain order and I had to develop a diagram for myself to figure it out. And because of my wonderful fabric, it meant extra work. I did the hemming/trimming/folding over, then the topstitching and then I handtacked the front bands down and finally handstitched the hook and eye tape on. The underlap (so you don't see skin when the band gaps) has yet to go on.
  • If I were to sew another, I would move the hook and eye tape to the back, and probably change it to a zipper as well as eliminate the "front bands". It would make the construction easier and better and less of a gapey fit in the front.
But really, despite all the extra effort I had to put in, I'm really excited about it! I think it is one of the coolest things I've sewn and there is no doubt it is a sexy sew. While I made it for the motorcycle, I actually want to pair it with a midi-length black tulle skirt, like this, for dinner dates.

21 April 2014

Sew Sexy Sew-Along: The Final Post Part I

The Sew Sexy Sew-Along ended sometime last week, so I'm only a little behind on the round-up post, as well as finally showing my finally finished project. If I've missed anyone, let me know.
First order of business, the winner of the Lolita Patterns giveaway is Angela! I've emailed you about shipping.
Sara was an eager sewer and put in the first finished project only a few days after the sew-along had begun! She produced a lovely silk slip in a rather unusual print.

My co-hosts Wanett and Clio were on the ball with their garments. Both were incredibly chic, but are you really surprised? These New York gals have a very high standard of fashion to live up to! Meanwhile, I had sewn up some silky vintage knickers to get my creativity going.

Suzanne, whom I would consider the brainmother? the fairy godblogger? of the SSSA...anyways, you get the gist, she is the whole reason this project was conceived. She led the way with draped and sheer projects.

Lee also tried her hand at several great styles of undergarments, which is especially impressive when you've just moved overseas. EDIT: She went above and beyond, and turned these same patterns into an amazing swimsuit!

Lizzie really bowled us over with some fabulous draped pieces. I still can't believe these sewers that completed two really fantastic garments in the given dates.

Erin and Aleksandra both proved many of us wrong - their Colette pattern makes are a far cry from twee sewing, and are both equally divine. They actually make me want to go sew up the same patterns!

Melody went with a Big 4 pattern for her very sexy sheath dress. I love it! She would look right at home on a Mad Men set.

Amanda's mashup of the Cambie and BHL Charlotte is an impressive mashup of sophisticated and sexy. I'm pretty sure Joan Holloway would be all over this dress.

I think Tasha's is one of my favorites. She took a swimsuit pattern, which would have been sexy in its own right, but then she turned it into a spunky cocktail dress.

And of course, miss Oona has so much spark and gumption that she makes everything look sexy. I love that she went way, way, way out of the traditional sexy box with this one.

The best part of this Sew Along, in my opinion, has been the diversity and breadth of the sewing projects. I had anticipated a heap of wiggle dresses and lingerie and was pleasantly surprised. Almost everyone sewed from a different pattern company, and there are no two projects that are even close to being twins. Prints, silks, mesh, jersey, and lace were all represented and while black and red were the predominant colors, the smattering of other colors kept it fresh and exciting.

 While I think a different time slot is in order next year, what with Sew For Victory and Me-Made-May overlapping and bookending us, I'm really motivated to put up SSSA 2015. This is the first time I've been truly excited about sewing in awhile and I think it is because we're filling a big gap in the sewing community. I know I'm always stumped when I have a cocktail party or dinner or girls' night out and want to wear a me-made, and this is the perfect catalyst to solving that hole in one's wardrobe.
Tune in tomorrow for Part II, my final reveal (finally...)

17 April 2014

Chicago Here I Come! And Pattern Sale 30% Off Through Tuesday!

Many of you already know, but for the month of May, I will be taking up residence with the wonderful Meg the Grand while I work in Chicago! So if you live in the area and want to get together, shoot me an email to taponmyback (at) cox (dot) net! Also, suggestions of things to go do and see are very welcome since I know diddly about Chicago.

In celebration, I am offering a 30% discount in my pattern shop through Tuesday the 22nd of April if you use coupon code CHICAGO. There are lots of goodies to be had. Take advantage now since the shop will close until mid-June.

14 April 2014

Sew Sexy Sew Along Pattern Giveaway!

Yes, officially the SSSA is over. Yes, my project is not done (there's a reason I picked really great co-hosts, who I knew would have something to show by the end date!) but it is so close! So, so, so close to being done! At least I hope it is, since what I have got done is looking really great. I blame my nearest JoAnn's not being open on Sundays for my unfinished state, but luckily I got there today and picked up a plethora of topstitching supplies, from topstitching thread to several kinds of needles.

In the meantime, I have a fabulous pattern to give away in celebration of the Sew-Along: Lolita Patterns#4013, "Gunmetal".
 You can find all the pattern information at their website. It is sized 2-24 and has the cutest packaging! Lots of people have made it up, so if you're not convinced just google it.
The rules?
1. The giveaway is not limited to sew-along participants...
2. It is, however limited to those of us who live in the United States. I'm not exactly rolling in dough, sorry! When I win the lottery someday I'll make up for it.
1. The giveaway ends Tuesday, April 22nd. I will ship ASAP.
3.  To enter, leave a link to your blog or some other way of getting in touch with you, as well as a comment about your sexiest sewing project. If you don't have one, tell me what it would be!

11 April 2014

SSSA: Bustier Muslin

There was hope that I would get my bustier done for last night's Crafty Industry Happy Hour, but alas, my machine got fed up and boycotted topstitching when it was about 75% complete. That's also as far as I progressed in the muslin - up to the point where the insertion of the underlap, facing and hook and eye tape makes everything really confusing. I'm a visual learner, so when there's no diagram, I'm really lost.
 The two-piece cup on the left is from a bra pattern developed for me over the weekend at a bra-making class with the lovely Sharon Butler. I'll have a whole post up on that soon. The one on the right, which is three pieces, is what came with the pattern. I was curious about what would happen if I substituted and this is what I got. 
Granted, the bra pattern is designed for different fabrics than muslin, but they are similar to what my final bustier is made out of in terms of stretch. I would have had to alter the other pieces in the Burda pattern quite a bit to make it work, so when, to my surprise, the regular cup fit I decided to stick with that.
 This is the only way I could sort of capture what was going on with the bra cup since it wasn't obvious head-on...it was making a sort of duck bill of extra fabric right at the seam. Or as I have fondly named it, muppet-mouth. The only fitting I had to do was take in the center back, since I'm between sizes with Burda. Alterations to this are easy since all the seams continue up throught the back band and cup. I think I could lose some waist length, but with the stretch fabric it will be okay and I'll incorporate it into the next make of this pattern.

Folks Serv