Wonderful Watson

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had made my own bra before, the Cloth Habit Watson Bra. I think I made this bra about 18 months ago, and have always intended to make another but not yet got around to it.  Sewing lingerie does seem to be another of those slightly intimidating projects, a bit like sewing my first trousers or jeans, bit I have to say that this was a great pattern as a first attempt.

IMG_20180910_094111487.jpg

The Watson bra is a soft cup bra without underwires, so about as basic as it can get.  What made it so great as a first project though was the great step by step sew along.  The instructions in the pattern are good, but I really valued the photographs in the sew along to reassure me that I was doing it right.  Both the pattern instructions and the sew along also tell you exactly what stitch settings to use when sewing different parts of the bra, which I really valued as a first time lingerie maker.

IMG_20180910_094201628.jpg

Its not always easy to find all the pieces required in lingerie patterns- most require meshes and various different elastics and it can feel a bit intimidating.  I decided to take the guesswork out of it by ordering a kit from TailorMadeShoppe on etsy.  They don’t have the same one any more, but they do have lots of kits for soft cup bras like the Watson in all sorts of different fabrics.

IMG_20180910_094408799.jpg

The Watson pattern also includes a bikini style underwear pattern, with similarly great instructions and pictures.  My success with these pants definitely gave me the confidence to make up my big batch of Acacia Undies.

IMG_20180910_094333002.jpg

I do have fabric and findings to make another few soft cup bras, though I think I would need to work out again what size to go with as my body has definitely changed post baby.  My little bra modification to add nursing clips would work while making my own bra though too so maybe I will have to find some time to give it another go.  I did find it very satisfying completing each small step before so it might be a good project to do in my more limited sewing time.

IMG_20180910_094419719

Advertisements

Bra Modification

This is another quick and practical project. I have made my own lingerie before (such as an unblogged Watson Bra and these Acacia Undies), but I didn’t really have the time or inclination this time around! Instead I bought this bra recently, though to be useful for everyday it needs to be nursing friendly so I decided to make the modifications myself.

IMG_20180826_151556103

You can buy kits like this one to convert your bra, but I decided to just buy the clips and elastic that I needed separately.  First job is to measure the width of the current strap elastic to buy the right clip size, and unpick the elastic from the top of the cup.

IMG_20180825_201825289

Once it’s been taken apart, the clips can be put into position and sewn up.

IMG_20180826_151806050

Next job is to attach elastic from the strap clip to the bottom of the cup.  This stops you from losing your strap back over your shoulder when it is unclipped.

IMG_20180826_181135757 (2)

In all, a pretty useful little modification.  It always feels good to do some sewing that will really get lots of use.  Now I really must get on with that graduation dress!

Practical Packaging

Last week I showed you my reusable wipes and said that I needed to create a bag to put them in for ‘out and about’.  Well that is what I have to show you today- the pretty and practical packaging.

IMG_20180818_203803989

This project is a great one for using up fabric scraps.  I was able to use some cotton drill and a co-ordinating quilting cotton for the lining of this little purse.  I already had a suitable zip too so everything came from scraps or stash.  When thinking about how to make the bag as useful as possible, I knew that it needed to stand up by itself  to make reaching in one handed easy.  That means that a flat zippered purse is out, and the corners of my bag needed to be ‘boxed out’.

IMG_20180818_203911775

There are loads of tutorials out there to show you how to put something like this together.  My favorite is this one from Melly Sews which conceals all the seams within the lining, but needs a little bit of hand stitching to slip stich the lining.  A slightly quicker alternative is this one which has the seams for boxing out the corners visible inside the bag, but which is super speedy.  I chose to conceal the seams, and it is still a pretty quick make.

IMG_20180818_204052258

I’m pretty pleased with the stripe matching too.

IMG_20180818_203939750

I did change the dimensions of my bag because it only needs to hold a few wipes and the spray bottle, not a whole wash kit.  I used a 20cm zip and cut my outer and lining pieces to 23cm by 17.5cm.  The boxed out corners are 2.5cm or 1inch as in the instructions and this gave me a finished bag with dimensions 14cm long, 10cm wide and 6cm high approximately.

IMG_20180818_203837126

I’m really happy with my latest quick make.  It feels good to be able to sit at the sewing machine even just briefly and create something.  I do have some dressmaking projects in the pipeline though too, including working on a toile of a dress to wear to my graduation in September.  Considering that I get to sew in 30-60 minute chunks at the moment, I’m going to have to get a move on to get it finished to my satisfaction in plenty of time.

Simple Sewing

This is not a dressmaking project, but something much simpler.  I’ve been finding my sewing time much reduced these days so this is just a quick project, but one that I have been getting a lot of use out of!  We have been using reusable cloth nappies, and it occurred to me that it wouldn’t generate any extra washing to use cloth wipes as well.  The wipes would just be washed along with the nappies.  It is possible to buy cloth wipes (we have some of these which I use for babies face/hands), but I figured that I am competent with a sewing machine so I simply dug out an old towel and set to work.

IMG_20180816_142939686

These wipes are made from an old microfibre towel which rarely got used. An ordinary cotton towel would also work just fine, but this towel is both very quick drying and not very bulky so it seemed perfect for this project.  I cut 15cm squares, rounded off the corners and then went around the edge with my overlocker to stop them from fraying.  It has been a great project to do in small batches while baby Toby is asleep or content for a few minutes.

IMG_20180816_142904211

Once the cloths are complete, I keep them in a basket next to our changing mat.  They can be moistened with just plain water, but I have been using a spray bottle and have mixed a few simple and baby friendly ingredients.  Here is my approximate “recipe”:

1 tbsp. Sweet Almond Oil (for moisturising and ‘glide’)

1 tbsp. Castile Soap (for gentle cleansing)

A few drops of Lavender Oil (for scent and its antibacterial properties)

200ml cold water

IMG_20180816_142757830

In fact, we now keep some of these wipes and a smaller spray bottle in the nappy changing bag so we can also use them when we are out and about too.

IMG_20180816_143022270

I know for most people reading this, nappy changing and baby wipes aren’t part of your daily routine, but perhaps if you use make-up removing wipes or other similar products you could also consider using something like this.  Research by Water UK suggests that baby and facial wipes account for over 90% of the contents of sewer blockages and ‘fatbergs’ because they don’t break down or biodegrade, and contain plastic.  See the full report here, but I’m willing to try and improve the situation by cutting out the need for these wipes as much as I can.  Let me know if you give it a go too.  All I need now is to make a little bag to contain the wipes in the changing bag and make them as convenient as possible.

Baby Gifts

While I was waiting for baby Toby to arrive, I was making good use of the time to sew up some more tiny outfits from all my jersey scraps.  A couple of friends have also been expecting little ones, so it seemed like a nice idea to make a little outfit for each of the new arrivals.

IMG_20180616_185447500.jpg

Because it is near impossible to guess how big or how fast the babies will grow, I went for the 3-6 month sizes this time, and decided to pair the Brindle and Twig cuff leggings with my hack of the Ringer Tee to have a popper neckline.

IMG_20180603_152300030

The resulting outfits look very smart, and have been happily received their new owners.

IMG_20180603_152818163

I even remembered to sew a tag into the leggings to help tell the front from the back!

IMG_20180603_152841188

Because babies cannot be relied upon to keep clean for long, I thought that a couple of dribble bibs in co-ordinating colours would make a good addition to the outfits.  These are just triangles of bright quilting cotton, backed with some soft sweat-shirting.  I used Prym colour snaps as closures because they come in so many fun colours and designs.

The other bib is just a simple outline, again with snaps to close it.  I did a bit of scrap quilting in pretty coordinating fabrics.

IMG_20180616_185330773

I love putting together baby clothes.  Its just such a good use of scraps and special fabrics!

Post pregnancy sewing

During the last weeks of my pregnancy I didn’t want to stop sewing, but it didn’t seem very logical to keep sewing for my bump.  Instead, I thought I would start trying to sew for after the birth, though it was tricky to decide what size to make.  I thought that the best solution to that problem was to make something which could adapt as my size changed so I went with the Tilly and the Buttons Miette Skirt, which has a wrap waist and tie so it can be tied tighter or looser as required.

Photo 6

This sew was made with fabric from Minerva Crafts– a lovely linen like blend of cotton and raime.  To see the full review and more pictures, head over to the Minerva Crafts blog here.

Photo 8

I’ve also been wearing my handmade espadrilles a lot in this warm weather, especially as my feet seem to have swollen a little during pregnancy.  Read more about them in this post here.

Prym Espadrile Soles

Tutorial: How to hack a t-shirt to have a popper closure

A couple of weeks ago I posted about my hack to the Brindle and Twig Ringer Tee pattern to give it a popper opening/closure and make it easier to get on and off.  I thought that I would put together a proper tutorial.  This method will work for any t-shirt pattern with a shoulder seam, and doesn’t have to be limited to just children’s clothing.  You could just as easily use the same method to add a fun feature to an adult jumper too.  I’m using the Ringer Tee pattern pieces again simply because it is a readily available and free pattern so any of you that want to give this a go, can!

 

Pattern modifications

Step 1:

The pieces that we are altering are the front, back, and the neckband.  You will first need to trace off new copies of these pieces in the relevant size.  Leave space around the pieces for the modifications.

The Ringer Tee has the front and back pattern pieces cut on the fold.  We are going to make the pattern asymmetrical, so you may find it easier to trace the pattern piece off complete so that it can be cut on a single layer.

Step 2:

Decide how much of an overlap you want at the closure.  I chose 1/2″ or 13mm.

I also decided that because it is a jersey pattern, and jersey does not fray I was happy to leave the inside edge raw or overlocked, rather than concealing the cut edge.

Step 3: Front Pattern Piece

You need to know what seam allowance the pattern you are working with uses.  The Ringer tee has 6mm seam allowances.

Draw the seam allowance on to one shoulder seam. (the blue line in the picture)

IMG_20180601_155622281

Draw on another line which is 13mm (or whatever overlap you decided on) from the seam line.  With my 6mm seam allowance this makes 7mm extra length in the shoulder.  This extra area is shaded in green.

Front, overlap

Step 4: Back Pattern Piece

Draw the seam line onto the same shoulder as you did for the front.  (It will look like the opposite shoulder because the pattern piece is effectively back-to-front.)  See the blue line below.

Back, seam line.jpg

Draw another line twice the overlap away from your seam line.  If you are using a 13mm overlap, this new line needs to be 26mm from the seam line.  The extra area is shaded in green again.

Back, overlap

Step 5: Neckband

Your neckband needs to have the total additional length added to it.  This means the length added beyond the seam line.  In my example that is 27mm.  (13+26-6-6=27mm)

IMG_20180601_155915939

Sewing up

Step 6: Cutting out and first shoulder seam

Cut out the pattern pieces.  Cut a tiny notch at the seam allowance line on the front and back shoulder on the side which was modified.  Sew the other shoulder seam (the one without the pattern alterations) as in the pattern instructions.  Press the seam to the back.

Step 7: Neckband

Fold and press the neckband in half.  Stitch it to the neckline.  Press the seam down towards the body of the top.  It should now look like this, with the neckline finished, and one shoulder open.

IMG_20180601_163958425

Step 8: Prepping second shoulder

Finish the shoulder seam allowances if you wish.  Press over 13mm on the front and back shoulder seams.  Use a strip of fusible hemming web to keep the fold in place while you complete the rest of the construction.

IMG_20180601_165411690

Step 9: Prepping the overlap

Overlap the back shoulder over the front, using the shoulder seam notches to align properly.  Use pins to keep the overlap in place.

IMG_20180601_165815259

Step 10: Sleeves

Insert the first sleeve, matching the shoulder notches to the central notch of the sleeve.  Once it is sewn, this will keep the overlap in place.

IMG_20180601_171202735

Insert the other sleeve.

IMG_20180601_172545779

Step 11: underarm and Side seams

Sew the underarm sleeve, and side seams together in one continuous seam.

IMG_20180601_173431545

Step 12: Cuffs and Waistband

Sew the short edges of the sleeve cuffs and waistband.  Press them in half wrong sides together.

IMG_20180601_173825285

Sew the waistband and sleeve cuffs to the body.

IMG_20180601_183520852

Step 13: Attach snaps to open shoulder

Attach snaps to the open shoulder seam, aligning the two halves.  I used two snaps on this 3-6 month size, but on larger sizes it might be better to use more.

You may wish to use jersey snaps like these which have multiple prongs because they are less likely to pull out with time and wear.  I generally use Prym vario pliers to apply snaps.  Much easier than all the hammering!

IMG_20180602_105640348

All finished and ready to wear!

IMG_20180602_105945588

Special Guest Post- Family weddings: Simplicity 1653

This is something very exciting for me- I get to introduce you to Ellen my cousin-in-law!  We took the opportunity at a family wedding to take some pictures of Ellen’s fantastic handmade dress.  I’ll let her tell you all about it…

IMG_1643

Hello, I’m Ellen and I’m delighted to be writing a guest post for Naomi Sews!

Our husbands are cousins which means that Naomi and I share a wonderful extended family. We live on opposite sides of the country, so we tend to see each other at big family occasions. I’ve been completely inspired by Naomi who, in the course of teaching herself to sew, started turning up to every family celebration in a beautiful, handmade outfit! Her enthusiasm and her blog have encouraged me to take my own sewing from straight lines (cushion covers and quilts) to the next step of dressmaking.

After I had sewn a few garments, we received an invitation to a family wedding and I was determined to have a go at sewing something to wear. It was a spring wedding with an outdoor ceremony by a lake, so I needed something that would work with layers for warmth, and would also be able to withstand any sudden gusts of wind!

I’m a big fan of wrap dresses so I went for a ‘mock’ wrap dress: Simplicity Amazing Fit Knit Dress 1653, which came free with Sew Magazine. The dress has a wrap top with a tie but a fixed skirt, so you get the nice ‘wrap’ shape without the potential for the skirt to fly open when it gets windy. I chose some navy and ruby jersey fabric from Sew Over It – it is pretty but very stretchy, and I think I may have over stretched it at times as there are parts which became slightly see-through.

IMG_1650

I prefer to use indie patterns as I like the instructions and the quality, but the Simplicity Amazing Fit collection is a real gift as it includes a variation of cup sizes. This meant I didn’t need to do my usual FBA adjustment so it made the process quicker than usual.

I had already taken a sewing class with stretch fabric to make another wrap dress, so this wasn’t the first time I was sewing with jersey. My Singer sewing machine belonged my mother before I was born, which means it is older than I am! It’s still going strong but it doesn’t have a stretch stitch. I used a jersey needle with a long zigzag stitch and it seemed to work well enough, although an overlocker or a sewing machine with a stretch stitch would have looked neater.

The dress was reasonably straightforward to sew and came together surprisingly quickly. My main issue was working out the direction of the pleats in the wrap tie section – I did them back to front the first time around. This may have been more to do with me than with the clarity of the instructions.

IMG_1656

The neckline comes down quite low and I didn’t have time to make the navy camisole I was planning to wear underneath it, so I ended up wearing the dress with a safety pin to avoid over-exposure. This shifted the neckline a bit but I decided it was better than the alternative! I have since made a camisole using the brilliant pattern from So, Zo, What to you Know which is a definite improvement on the safety pin.

The wedding was beautiful and the dress worked really well outside – a normal wrap dress would have been problematic. I got very positive comments from our family as well as from Naomi herself, who asked if I would like to write a guest post. She and Matt took me for a photo shoot during the wedding reception and we had a lot of fun. 

IMG_1668

 

 

Double-duty Dressmaking

This post comes slightly out of sequence because it has just gone live today on the Minerva Crafts blog. When I was offered some of their John Kaldor jersey to test I thought that this floral pattern was just beautiful and the drape of the fabric is great. At the time of sewing, my sewing time was a little limited because I had assignments to finish so I decided to combine a couple of different plans to make maximum use of my limited time.

Photo 1

This pattern is the maternity hack of the Sew Over It ultimate wrap dress, a pattern which was one of the first to make it onto this blog. Sew Over It provide instructions to hack the standard pattern pieces into an empire line so that is can be fitted around a bump. I also sized up to a 12, rather than the 8 I made before, as I’m hoping to be able to use this dress for nursing, and I’ve changed size at the bust too. The flutter sleeves are another hack, so look back to my post from Sunday to see what I did, and the tutorials that I found helpful.

Photo 5

This dress is also my entry for this years #sewtogetherforsummer community challenge, which involves making any wrap dress. I participated last year with my Alex shirtdress, and I’ve enjoyed seeing all the different patterns, inspiration and lovely dresses that have been made.

Photo 3

Anyway, to see the full blog post with all the construction details and final photo’s head over to the Minerva Crafts blog. I’m hoping to keep getting plenty of use out of this dress once baby arrives- hopefully it will be practical for throwing on when I don’t have time or energy to work out what to wear!

Sneaky early preview!

This week’s post will be arriving slightly later than normal because it is another collaboration with Minerva Crafts and is only due to publish on their website on Wednesday.  I’ve been so exited to share this make though because I really am loving wearing it in this more summery weather, and I feel very sophisticated in it!  Full details on the blog later this week, but for  now I’ll show you the bit of pattern hacking that I did to create these lovely flutter sleeves.

Photo 5

This pattern started out as the Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress, one of the first patterns that I blogged about.  The dress has full length fitted sleeves- not very summery so I decided to make a few changes! Firstly, I worked out approximately how long I waned the sleeve to end up by holding it up against me, and I just traced off that much of the pattern.  There are some great tutorials online, and I followed this one on craftsy, and also found this one on sewing pattern review helpful.  You can see how the finished pattern piece looks very different to the initial one, but because none of the sleeve allowances or seam lengths have changed inserting it works exactly the same as before.

Photo 4

I wanted to keep the sleeve looking light and airy so I didn’t want a heavy hem weighing it down.  It made it a great reason to use my overlocker’s rolled hem function which is much more dainty, and a very quick easy way of finishing a curve.  I think I will be using this sleeve hack again over the summer- the sleeves are just so lovely.  They aren’t restrictive or hot, but keep your shoulders covered when out in the sunshine!  Pop back on Wednesday to see the other changes that I made to this pattern.

IMG_3338