Tag Archives: Watson bikini

Interstitial Blackwood

I’m in the throes of a Big Project (TM) that is eating my brain and possibly driving me crazy. Did I mention making a suit jacket for my uncle? Yes? I wish I hadn’t. Anyway, I’m not quite ready to dive into that pile of angst yet, but suffice it to say, I needed a break from it.

So today, when I found myself in the sewing room at 8 am on a Sunday morning, with no children in the house and a husband sleeping on the living room couch, I found myself puttering.

First, in a bit of a landmark move, I went through my two giant bins of scraps (plus accessory bags and piles), stuffing the smaller and uglier into my pouf.

Wait, I hadn’t mentioned my pouf! After Closet Case Patterns blogged about their scrap-stuffed pouf pattern, I made one. But I hadn’t really tried to stuff it yet.

Over the course of a couple of hours the pouf went from empty to maybe 3/4 full, and the scraps went from two bins, two grocery bags, and several other piles, to one (albeit rather full) bin.

Believe it or not, this is uncommonly tidy for my sewing room.

It’s a New Years miracle! Freeing up a bin allowed me to pack up some more of the ambient fabric, and actually reorganize the bins a bit, so I was able to get several more bins off the floor and into the wall of stacked bins.

I cut out and sewed up a quick pair of Watson bikinis, a remnant from a piece a friend in Atlanta sent me yoinks ago, which I made into some early loungewear that I’ve since dyed a rather muted purple grey. I’d kinda forgotten how neon the original colour was.

I fussed around a bit more with the jacket.

I swept the floor.

And then, after some pleasant digging through my freshly re-ordered bins, I whipped up a second Blackwood Cardigan. The first on I made, for my birthday, has been in heavy rotation ever since, only limited by the fact that a subset of my outfits don’t work with a burgundy cardigan.

Now I gotta say, the wool I used the first time was a FAR better fabric. This time I picked this pretty piece of knit jacquard, which came in as a factory remnant. The factory remnants Fabricland gets are generally pretty inexpensive, and I guess they’re a “sustainable” option since you’re using fabric that would otherwise go straight to a dump—but they can be pretty rank. They usually seem to be bits the factory has cut around because of staining or some other flaw.

This particular piece had large yellow hand-writing at one end (fortunately on the wrong side) and a linear flaw in the jacquard all down one side, not to mention being cut wildly off grain. The fabric itself is nothing special, either, highly synthetic and pretty much guaranteed to snag almost instantly. But, very pretty.

Underarm flaw—not noticeable.

I was just barely able to squeeze the main body pieces out of the patterned fabric—with only a bit of the flaw along the edge of the sleeve, where it’s very hard to notice.

Wobbly pocket is wobbly. We are going to love it anyway.

I was lucky enough to find a bit of black sweaterknit of a similar weight and quality to make the bands and pockets. They’re both very soft and squishy fabrics, so getting the pocket square, even with steam-a-seam to fuse it in place, was kinda a lost cause. But I’d rather have wobbly pockets than no pockets.

I’m sad (but not surprised) to report that, while very pretty and comfy, it’s definitely not as warm as my wool version. But it was simple and reliable and quick, which is everything the ongoing project is not, and sometimes a dose of simple is exactly what you need.

Happy Sunday!



Filed under Sewing

New House Sewing

The sewing room is finally mostly set up. A lot more organization would be good, though. At work I'm highly organized. I'm not sure why I have such difficulty applying the same principles to my daily life.

I made the socks above using the Dreamstress's Rosalie stockings pattern, back around Christmas. I had impulsively grabbed a remnant of cotton spandex jersey in this mustard colour, which is fun but well outside my usual colours.

At the same time, I cut out a pair of Watson bikini bottoms. Then, somehow, in the five feet from my kitchen to the sewing machine, I lost the crotch pieces. (Pattern piece still attached, FYI)

Expecting them to turn up, I set the other pieces aside. And waited. And waited.

Eventually I resigned myself to reprinting the errant pattern piece. Thank goodness for PDF patterns. But by then I had mislaid the fabric. And never the twain did meet… until last night, while organizing, I realized I had both.

Callooh callay!

Well, after sewing up the underwear in short order, I felt I should do something with the scant remaining remnant. Some experimentation revealed that yes, I could just barely get a version of Gertie's Butterick B6031 cami out of it. This is by far my favourite loungewear pattern, so I set to. I wasn't going to use lace, so I skipped the lace panel on the front, but even the longer version of the cami is pretty short so I wound up adding lace (as you are supposed to) to the hem. And now I think I miss the definition the lace at the underbust gives it. Oh well.

Mustard really isn't the best colour on me, but it's still a cute sleep set. (And I'm on vacation, which has really driven home how impoverished my casual wardrobe has become. ) And now that piece of fabric, at least, is totally gone.

I do need to get another machine set up, though. Switching between yellow and black thread all the time got VERY annoying.


Filed under Sewing

Sewing with offspring

  Last Saturday I wound up unexpectedly home alone with my children all evening. Of course I was going to sew (I’m a single-minded obsessive after all) but, rather unexpectedly, they wanted to join in. First Tyo, then Syo, and they both wanted to make… Underwear! 

Tyo, who just completed her first sewing unit in Practical & Applied Arts at Xmas, got her heart fixated on black lace boy shorts. I had some fabric I figured would be perfect—a hefty stretch lace with decent recovery, that I made a great pair of leggings from last year sometime (and didn’t blog, apparently). After a lot of googling I convinced her that not only did I know what boy shorts are, but that the Rosy Ladyshorts were, in fact, a boyshort pattern, and she agreed to make a slightly modified version—modified by adding to the bottom edge so that when she sewed on the stretch lace edging she could line its outer edge up with the fabric, and trim the excess away later. Considering she’s never sewn anything stretch before, never mind applied elastic by feel, I think she did awesome. 

  The crappy part is that since she has a pair of this fabric, I can’t make myself one, and it was a really great idea!!!!

  Syo wanted an aqua pair to match two of her bras, and we managed to find a lace in stash that was almost exactly the right colour. And fabric, but that’s less astonishing. Unfortunately not a stretch lace, which took some explaining, but we used it for the side fronts of my hacked Watson pattern. Now for some reason I feel a wee bit weird about showing you photos of my preteen’s underwear so I’m just showing you the fabrics.  

img_3115So imagine this pair but made of not-see-through aqua knit with the lace at the side rather than centre front. I wound up doing most of the construction as it was a bit more complex than was probably a good idea, but Syo cut it all out on her own. 

The convenient part about all of this is both children pretty much wear my same size right now in horizontal measurements, so there was little to no adjusting of size. Although that may also be saddening. /sigh. 

  And me? Well, I made up this very smart pair  of Ladyshorts in a camo mesh and got all excited…

And, for you camo haters out there, you have a win. This pair was a total fail. The lace was perfect but the mesh has way too much stretch in one direction, little recovery,  and absolutely none in the other, and they were BAGGY! And no amount of taking them in would fix it. UGH. I feel like the Rosy Ladyshorts, more than any other underwear pattern I’ve made, really depend on the fabric having just the right amount of stretch and recovery. When I nail it, they’re amazing, but when they don’t work, the fail is epic. Ah, well. It’s not like I don’t have lots of other underwear in my drawer…

I really want a black lace pair like Tyo’s, dammit. 


Filed under Sewing


  For my February project at Fabricland I took out a double project of lingerie: the plan was for one Watson set and one Marlborough (ulp!) + underwear to be determined set (ended up being another Watson bikini, because why mess with perfection? 😉 ).  

This was prompted mainly by timing—it’s a season where they don’t really want you to take out projects in last fall’s fabrics, but we didn’t have much in for the spring fabrics yet—so the selection is limited to the “regular”, non-seasonal stock. This lack of options made me finally buckle down and get around to doing something I’ve been procrastinating at for years now. A lingerie project. 

My fabrics of choice were from the bridal section, stretch mesh and non-stretch lace, and the main inspiration: some really gorgeous ruched elastic they carry at a ridiculously inflated price, that only comes in these stupid little one-yard packages.  Way too annoying to spend my own money on—perfect for a project. Part of the problem with sewing bras based on Fabricland stock is that things are a little hit and miss—the strap elastic doesn’t match the band elastic, there’s underwires but only one style and there’s no actual power mesh. So in many ways these projects feel very ad hoc. However, having done this I’m feeling a bit more comfortable with that—it’s not like I have significant support needs requiring industrial materials. 

I started with the familiar; I’ve made the Watson set before, so you’d think it would’ve been a breeze. Well, blame passing time or being still sick, but I managed some pretty good stuff ups, despite the previous experience. The stretch mesh I was using for the back band has a LOT of stretch, so I downsized the band. And the first version of the cradle I cut out, I didn’t realize that apparently a large corner had torn off the pattern piece. So I had to recut all that (in three layers), after I had basted everything together and then realized my cradle didn’t match up with my band piece. D’oh. 

  Then, when applying the elastic to the panties, I used too much elastic on the first leg, leaving me short for the second leg (remembering my elastic all came in 1 yard packages)—so the elastic for the second leg is significantly tighter. Either looks fine, though I suspect they will feel a bit weird on, but the bikinis look rather weirdly lop-sided. Bleh. The project must hang. 😉 one thing that did work out was adding a panel of my lace to the front of the bikini—this turned out super cute. I basically just traced off the front pattern piece, sliced where I wanted my panel to end, and added seam allowances. 

Once I recut the cradle, the construction of the bralet wasn’t bad, but a couple of things bit me in the ass. First was my decision to downsize the band. BAD idea.  Especially when I had also decided to double the mesh in the band. Too tight. Way too tight. 

  Fortunately (?) the bra backs Fabricland sells come with this weird chunk of elastic attached to one side, which I was able to use to extend the back. So it will go around, even if it’s a bit fugly. 

  My biggest problem with my first two Watson bralets is that the wide long-line bands don’t stay in place. My ribcage flares at the bottom, and they just wriggle their way up. So to try to ameliorate that for this one, I added boning channels (with some scraps of my fancy elastic) over the side-seams. This seems a bit overkill for what’s supposed to be a soft bra, but if it works, it works, right? Mind you the jury is still out on it working. Because:

When the great try-on moment came, it became clear that the cup size that fits me in a cotton spandex jersey, does not fit me very well in a non-stretch lace. Lots of cutting in. Pouting, I got Tyo to try it on, since her bra size is about one cup letter smaller than mine these days. Yup, great fit. But, it’s a sweet off-white lacy bralet with rosettes… Not really her style. At all. Syo, on the other hand, seems to like it. Oh, and it fits her, too. So I think it will have a home. Maybe. Both my kids, like me, are foam cup types, so I’m actually not sure anything else will get worn. 

  And then, with the warmup done, it was time. Marlborough time. A scroll back through Instagram informs me that I muslined this pattern a mere 76 weeks ago! Yikes. At that time I was pretty impressed with the fit, which seemed to need only a minor tweak to the side seam. But in the meantime plenty of sewing anxiety had set in, and I stalled and faffed over not having the right notions and wrang my hands about what colour my first bra should be and generally just avoided the problem. So really, taking this out as a project with a deadline, was pretty much perfect for cutting through all that avoidance. 

  And now, having done it up, I’m not quite sure what I was so nervous about. Yeah, there are lots of little pieces and I wish there were maybe a few more notches to help keep track of which way the pieces fit together, but I love sewing with 1/4″ seam allowances, and by hopping back and forth between my 1/4″ foot and my edge stitch/stitch in the ditch foot the sewing itself was pretty slick. And the Instagram peeps were there to hold my hand while I panicked over my half-ass channeling, arguably the scariest part of the whole process. 

For this set I layered the stretch mesh and non-stretch lace over a thin grey poly spandex knit. I kinda wish the grey showed more, actually, and maybe that I had used mesh over the power bar rather than lace, so it would show more. And maybe stretch more. 

  Because the biggest problem, again, is that the non-stretch lace is less forgiving than the stable-but-with-some-give earlier version. The power bar—the vertical piece at the side of the bra—actually kinda cuts in at the seam to the other pieces, not a nice look, though also not evident in the pictures, so it probably isn’t as bad as I think it is. And the shape is more pointed in the lace than it was in my scuba first version. Not a bad shape, but a little different. 

 For my own information, I’m going to add that the underwire I’m using is about two sizes larger than the “right” underwire for this size. This means it’s wide enough not to cut in at the side of my breast, which is one of my biggest complaints with store bought bras. I also had to shorten them significantly on the cleavage side to fit this pattern, which is fine if you have the tools for that but less fine otherwise. 


At the end of the day, though, the biggest issue, which has nothing to do with the pattern or fit itself. This is a soft cup bra. I’m a foam padding & push-up girl, if I’m going to actually wear a bra. The last time I wore a soft cup bra was over a decade ago. In particular, the right padded bras mean I don’t need to worry about small bust adjustments in my sewing. So that, more than anything else, might be what keeps me from using this bra much. But I am curious. It wouldn’t be the first time sewing has coaxed me to experiment outside my comfort zone. 



Filed under Sewing

Kibbles and bits and bits and bits

In the post-Christmas exhaustion I have been cleaning (a little bit) and sewing—a lot of small, quick things, often using scraps.

 Back during the Xmas sewing, I was cutting a bunch of Jalie raglans and had a lot of awkward, diamond-shaped scraps that were, it turned out, perfect for underwear. I cut out two Cloth Habit Watson bikini bottoms, but didn’t have time to finish them. Now, I do. I used a mixture of FOE (I have a massive stash of black, narrow FOE) and clear elastic. We shall see which is better to wear.

 A month or so ago I nabbed another remnant of this waffle-weave cotton. It’s the perfect tea towel fabric, but at regular price it’s still a bit expensive for tea towels I don’t really need. At remnant price, though, it’s irresistible. I cut the 1m remnant in four and hemmed and, voila, four new tea towels. The waffle weave makes it super easy to fold the narrow hems, too.

 I was trying to be good and resist this map themed fabric ( I love maps), even when it went on sale, but when there was just 1.5m (maybe 1.7?) left on the bolt, I caved. I was thinking sundress, but that’s not much 45″ fabric, and when I got it home I realized it would go really well with my bedding as pillowcases. There was just enough to do two, envelope style with the opening in the middle back, as per my husband’s preference. Only downside—matchy matcherton that he is, he’d now like a full duvet set of the same. See above about how I took the last on the bolt. >_<

  Then Osiris was getting whiny about all the sewing for other people, so I made him a sweatshirt. I used the same Kwik Sew pattern, 2133, I did for his sweater last year, which I can’t find a blog post for? WTF? How did I miss that? I need to blog that. Anyway, this one is much less intricate, and really took about 3 hours all told. Maybe less. The only request he had was that it be a bit roomier than the last version. Well, it turned out that my grey sweater knit was tubular, and that the total width was only about 1/2″ more than the sweatshirt pattern. So I added a similar amount of width to the sleeves and didn’t have to sew side-seams. (This makes sewing in the raglan sleeves a bit weird, but it worked fine.) 

The biggest change was that I made the wrist and bottom bands a lot looser—apparently the snug ones that came with the pattern are not to his taste. He says he is much happier with the result. 

And I made a Jasper Dress for me, finally! But that needs its own post…


Filed under Sewing