Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Patterns from Mrs. Depew Vintage

Hello my dears. Before the great headache of 2015 (we're on day 13 now, super fun times) I was working up a storm on some new sewing patterns for Mrs. Depew Vintage. All are swoon-worthy lingerie pattern reproductions. A few you might even recognize from my crazy S-Series obsession (yes, I'm still hunting).

Not only are these lovelies available in multiple sizes (I've graded the patterns to every size the original pattern was available in back in the day) but they're also available in both paper, and instant download versions!
So without further ado...

This charming little set can be sewn in 2 versions. Version 1 is an uplift bra that fastens at the center back, Version 2 is a bra for evening wear with a cross-over strap fastened at the front. The panties may be made with or without lace and a full-sized motif pattern is included for applique. 

This great step-in can be sewn in 2 ways with either lace or self-fabric uppers. The fitted top has V - shaped neckline and the lower section joins the upper section in a pointed line. 

This corset is a corset in the very loosest sense of the word. It was originally marketed as a Brassiere in about 1920 and isn't necessarily meant to fit too tightly. It can be made from woven fabrics and a hook and eye tape closure at center back. This is the perfect foundation piece to wear under those 1920's day dresses to get that slim, smooth, bulge-free silhouette. 

SIZING: 32"- 50" Bust.

You don't see these very often, they were in vogue in the late 1910's -  early 1920's and acted as a full coverage bra/ camisole. It has a dart at center front and pleating at the sides, can be made from woven fabrics and is trimmed with matching or contrast bias tape. The back closure is a length of elastic for comfort.

SIZING: 34"- 48" Bust.

And that's not all! When I wasn't working on bra sew-along posts, I was putting something very exciting into the works. I'll soon be posting a complete tutorial series on how to draft a Haslam Foundation PatternHaslam Foundation Pattern, adapt it to another design, and sew the whole thing up into a complete garment.
... and I shall call it Project Haslam...

How about you? Have you ever tried the Haslam pattern drafting system? Did it go well for you or was it intimidating? 
Would you be interested in giving it a try if I posted a free pattern for you to use?

Happy sewing,

Sunday, November 15, 2015

1940' Bra Sew-Along - Finishing with a closure.

Hello my dears. I hope you're having a lovely weekend so far.
I just want to start this post out today with a warm hug for my friends and followers in France. Your country was my first love and my oldest friend, and after the events of yesterday, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

It's a chilly day here in Monterey and the sun is at a low angle in the sky. My house smells like a house should on a cold day - hints of apple cider and a pot roast in the oven are wafting up the stairs to my studio. And it's the perfect time to type up a blog post and finish our sew-along.

In our last post we discussed edge finishing and sewing our straps in. Now all that's left to do is add our back closure and we should be done! I know we're all used to hook and eye closures in bras these days and that's what I prefer for this bra. But if you're going for a full 1940's bra style, know that you can also use buttons and loops if you like, or a French bra back, which is essentially two lengths of elastic and a hook.

For this project I have used plush-backed hook and eye tape with a double set of eyes for adjusting fit. This is pretty much plug and play, but there are a few notes on placement.

The first thing to do no matter what type of closure you use, is to stay-stitch the center back of each piece D to keep it from stretching while you work. This can be done with any straight stitch 1/8" from the edge.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

1940's Bra Sew-Along - Finishing edges and adding straps.

Hello again my dears,
In our last sew-along post, we sewed our actual bra pieces together and now we're ready to talk edge finishing. We'll need to do this before we before can sew our straps in place. There are a few ways that you can finish your edges if you're not sewing a whole bra and lining together and turning it right sides out. You can bind your edges, add applique lace at the edges, or my favorite, face the edges with rayon or cotton seam tape.

This is easy as pie and makes a nice, neat finished edge on both sides.
First lay your chosen tape (I like 1/2" wide rayon seam binding) on the top edge of the RIGHT side of the bra. Pin it in place and stitch 1/8" from the top edge.

Now press the tape upwards. This will give you a crisp edge later on. After that, fold the tape over onto the WRONG side of the bra edge and press again.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

1940's Bra Sew-Along - Sewing the real thing.

Hi there lovely readers. I hope I'm posting at an o.k. rate for you. It's been a strange week and I've been unfortunate enough to have a headache for 5 days now. I went to the doctor today just to be on the safe side and everything is fine - I'm just one unlucky girl this week...
For today's post we're going to sew our actual bra together now! In our last post, we went over lining and facing options. Now that we've squared that away, and you've faced your pattern pieces (if you so chose) we'll put together our bra in the exact same order we put together the test muslin.

This time though, as we sew each individual seam, we're going to stop and press the seam allowance a certain way, then top stitch it in place. This will give us that lovely 1940's look, as well as securing our raw edges.

So we start by sewing pieces A and B together along that tricky curved seam, and then press the stitches as sewn without opening them up. This will set the stitches. Then open pieces A and B, and press the seam allowance UP onto piece A.
Now you're ready to very neatly top-stitch 1/8" from the seam on piece A, as done below.

Now stitch both center front pieces together and press that seam open.

Top stitch again 1/8" from the center front seam on EACH side.

Then sew piece C to the lower edge of pieces B, press the seam allowance DOWN, and top-stitch 1/8" from the edge on piece C.

Now you're ready to attach the back of the bra, pieces D, to the side seams.

Once you have, press the seam allowances outwards to piece D, and top-stitch again.

And voila! You have the lion's share of the sewing done! Next, we'll talk finishing edges and adding straps.

Happy sewing,

Saturday, November 7, 2015

1940's Bra Sew-Along - How to face pattern pieces and lining options.

Happy weekend, sewers! Ready to do some more bra sewing?

In our last post we talked about adjusting our cups sizes. Since I haven't gotten any more fitting questions from you, we're ready to move on.
Today we need to talk about lining options. What should the inside of our bra look like? Well, there are three methods of lining I have used in bra sewing in the past and one is far superior to the others.
The first is fully lining the bra. As I did with my bra #2001 for the Oooh la la Pin Up Sew-Along, you sew two complete bras (minus straps and closures), one of lining and one of outer fabric. Then you sew those two pieces right sides together all along the bottom seam and then bind the top edge. You can also sew the entire bra together at top, bottom and edges, leaving a gap to and turn the bra right side out. This conceals all of your raw seam edges. This can lead to some of your seams shifting a bit and if you have thin fabric, seam edge shadows can show up all over the place.

From a 1940's Brassiere in Profile - the edges here have been turned under and stitched, or faced with a piece of cotton tape.
Another technique is to sew one bra without lining, but of at least medium-weight fabric, and simply bind or turn the raw edges under as done in the bra above. By far though, I prefer to face my pattern pieces and use top stitching and rayon or cotton tape to finish my edges. This is the closest I can get to a historically accurate bra from the 1940's without hunting down some cotton-backed satin (seriously, it's hard to find!).

So to do this, simply cut the entire bra out from your outer fabric (I'm using white satin from our kit), and another entire bra from your lining fabric - I like fine cotton lawn or muslin for this.

Pieces C in satin and cotton, ready to be pinned.
Lay the lining pieces wrong sides together onto your outer (satin) pieces and pin them securely in place. You'll want your right sides to the exterior for this step.

All pattern pieces in cotton and satin, pinned wrong sides together.
Carefully baste each set of pieces together only along the top and bottom edges about 1/8" from the edge.

You will want to leave the left and right edges (side seam, center front and center back edges on all pieces) un-basted. If they are basted at all edges, this can lead to some creases and bunching that won't sit well on the sewn bra.

--Update: This method is a good one to use if your fabrics aren't prone to fraying. The satin I'm using doesn't fray very much so I'm comfortable with having a trimmed, top-stitched, but unconcealed raw edge inside my bra. If you want a more finished appearance on the inside, then you can either fully line the bra as mentioned above (instead of just facing your pieces) or you can finish the raw edges of each seam with either a serger or an edge stitch (a blanket stitch was very common on curved bra seams in the 1940's).

Here is the interior of my bra using the facing/ top-stitching method.

And now you're ready to sew your actual bra together!
Any questions about lining, facing or binding?

Happy sewing,

Monday, November 2, 2015

1940's Bra Sew-Along - Adjusting Bra Cups

It's time to talk about the bra cups! At this point you'll have chosen your size and sewn your muslin (don't worry, no deadline! I'm just posting this now per request). Some of you will find that the bra fits pretty well on the first try (lucky you!).

Here is how the pieces are meant to rest on your figure.

Others will find that they need more or less room in the cup area. That means we need to make adjustments to the seam between pieces A and B.

Above is the seam we're looking at highlighted in blue. For reference, the top of piece A should be about 7" from where a shoulder seam would sit on a t-shirt. The pattern doesn't use cups sizes, as we discussed earlier, but that doesn't mean we can't make cup adjustments. For our purposes, it's a good idea to only adjust cup size one size at a time. This pattern is approximately a B cup depth-wise, and the increase (or decrease) rate is 1/2" per cup.
Warning: adjusting the cups beyond a DD can really change the shape of the bra and it might not look the same after. I'm talking about uni-boob, a very real threat.

This is how you will need to add or subtract allowance from the seam:

Due to the shape of these pattern pieces, I recommend adding the brunt of your changes to the seam on piece B. First trace your pattern pieces onto a new sheet of paper (leave some room around them to make adjustments. To increase the cup size, add 3/8" to uppermost curve on piece B. Add 1/8" to piece A. This will equal 1/2" in total.

Note: If your girls tend to rest more to the side than front and center (some of us carry more fullness an inch or two nearer to the side), then you can shift the added bit to sit closer to your fullest point.

From this added bit, you'll want to smooth the new line to nothing until it blends to touch the side and center front seams at the ends, as illustrated above.
As you add this change, you want to make sure that the seam edges on the left of this diagram stay the same height. These still need to match up to piece D later on.

Now, by adding allowance to this seam, you're actually lengthening the seam line and piece B won't quite match piece A any more. This can be fixed by walking the pattern pieces together to match them up. Measure the difference between the pattern pieces and then add the difference to piece A as illustrated above in pink. If you make any changes to the sides of piece B, keep in mind that it still needs to match up with piece C.

Do the same to remove too much room at the cup seam by subtracting rather than adding the 1/2".

And just like that, you've adjusted your cups! Now it's time to test it again in muslin to see if that sucker fits better.

Happy sewing,