Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Presser Feet

I saw this deal for presser feet on So Sew Easy's website (HERE) and couldn't resist. So far I've only used a couple of them (invisible zipper foot, braiding foot and ¼" foot) but they have all worked perfectly. So much cheaper than purchasing the feet individually for my Viking Husqvarna machine.

Fringe Foot

  • Forms loose loops using a zig zag stitch over the centre bar to decorate an outlined design e.g. butterfly
  • Set zig zag to shortest and widest stitch e.g. L = 0.5, W = 7.0
  • Can form a fringe by straight stitching down one side and cutting along the other

Braiding Foot

  • Choose a braid that is narrower than the width of the channel on the underside of the foot. For my generic foot this is 7mm.
  • Snap foot on then feed e.g. narrow ribbon from top down into the front triangle, under the food and out the back.
  • Stitch ribbon to fabric using whatever stitch you like, straight stitch or zig zag
  • Can do the same with narrow elastic, pulling to gather and using wide zig zag stitch.
  • Can use to couch eg wooly yarn using a clear thread in the needle.
  • For narrower ribbon, adjust screw to smallen the window and ensure the ribbon feeds through evenly.

Piping Foot

  • There is a deep channel on the underside of the foot for the piping cord to feed through. Cover the cord with fabric with this foot and then shift the needle 1 point closer to the cord and stitch the piping to the fabric.

Roller Foot

  • For fabrics which have drag or resistance e.g. vinyl, leather. An alternative to a teflon foot, they literally have rollers under the foot! Increase the stitch length.

Darning Free Motion Foot

  • Darning, quilting, adding lace, free motion eg stippling
  • Drop the feed dogs and attach foot. Slow the speed control.

Gathering Foot

  • Adjust stitch length to e.g. 4.5 with upper tension up to 7.0.
  • Begin with finger at the back of the fabric to stop it until the feed teeth catch up and start to gather. Vary the gathering according to the stitch length and tension.
  • If you put 2 lengths of fabric through at the same time, it will gather the bottom fabric onto the top fabric.
  • Can gather either side (and even in the middle) to make an insert, or just in the middle of a bias strip as an embellishment.

Pintuck foot

  • Feet with a few grooves are appropriate for heavier weight fabric e.g. 3 or 5 groove, and those with more, say 7 or 9 grooves, are best for very lightweight fabrics.
  • Use a twin needle and set it in the centre position
  • Mark the starting and ending point for your pin tucks, and stitch the first tuck. For parallel pin tucks, place each completed tuck in a groove to the right or left of centre, and tstitch the next tuck. This means that the first pin tuck must be really exact as it sets the bar for all the rest. You can miss a groove in the pintuck foot and space the pintucks further apart.
  • Use cording for definition. Need a special bobbin cover.
  • You need to match the size of the needle to the size of the pintuck foot. They come in sizes 1.6 - 6.0 which is the distance in mm between the points. The needle has to match the foot, so the more grooves you have the smaller the needle distance needed.
  • Twin needle sizes (being the distance between the needle points in mm)
1.6 (use with 9 groove foot)

2.0 (use with 7 groove foot)

2.5, or 3.0 (use with 5 groove foot)

4.0 (use with 3 groove foot).
  • Adjust the top tension - set it to higher to get 'lift' to the pintucks but not too high that you get 'tunneling'  with bunching either side of the pintuck.

Cording Foot

  • 3 or 5 hole foot that allows decorative thread, yarn or elastic to be applied. Don't have to use all holes, could just use 1 or 2. e.g.. use a decorative yarn in the middle and 2 elastic threads either side to gather eg the top of a pocket.
  • Insert cords (through ports and then down through hole in foot) and sew with 3-step zig zag

Rolled Hem Foot (or Narrow Hemmer)

  • The hem allowance for a 6mm rolled hem will be 12mm. The 6mm hemmer is for medium weight fabrics.
  • The edge needs to be ABSOLUTELY SMOOTH - no jags or stray threads.
  • Finger press 12mm of fabric over, and then in half to make a 6mm double fold, for about an inch and pin in place. Place under the presser foot but don't put the fold into the scroll yet. Line the needle up with the fold of the fabric, take a few stitches to anchor the thread and stop with the needle down. Raise the presser foot and tug the fold of the fabric into the scroll, pulling gently on the fabric in front of the presser foot. Lower the presser foot and continue sewing. Note that fusing a 1 - 2" strip of interfacing, ⅛" wide, can help to start the process on sheer fabrics.
  • Start sewing slowly, pushing the fabric to the right with your left hand and the fold to the left with your right hand, and keeping the fabric slightly raised above the scroll. The raw edge of the fabric on top should feed in via the left hand side of the foot, along the groove, and the right side fold of the fabric should line up with the outside of the foot.
  • Adjust the needle position to make sure the stitching line is close to the fold. This is usually in the middle.
  • There are ways to go around corners well, see the Threads Magazine article or Sew4Home article on this.
  • To do a rolled hem on a curve, run a straight stitch around the edge first. When sewing, exaggerate the feeding through of the fabric (to the right with the left hand, etc). Could use this on e.g. a neckline.
  • Sew a shell edge using the rolled hem foot by selecting an overlocker stitch or blind hem stitch and lengthening the stitch length (the length of the scallop) and width (the depth of the scallop)

Teflon Foot

  • Coated to glide over leather, vinyl, laminate, suede, rubberised fabric
  • Consider using an upholstery thread

¼" Foot

  • comes with or without guide, and can add quilting bar (which slides into top of foot). Can add quilting bar to walking foot for e.g. quilting

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Invisible zipper insertion - Craftsy

  • Apply fusible stay tape to both sides of where invisible zipper will go, twice as wide as the zipper.
  • Don't sew any part of the seam first.
  • Shorten zipper to desired length
  • Invisible zipper foot = wide but with 2 channels underneath where coils will go.
  • Adjustable zipper foot = narrow with no channels but can butt up to the coils.
  • Lightly press 5/8" SA on each separate piece of fabric to form a guide.
  • With zipper stop down, pin one side of zipper in place, placing coils next right over the pressed seam line.
  • From top, line coil up with LHS groove of invisible zipper foot and stitch close to coils, pulling coils open as you go, all the way down, L = 2.5. At the slider, backstitch and finish. Pulling the coils open encourages the seam allowance to roll back and makes the zipper invisible.
  • Do the zipper up, flip to the other side and move finished SA out of the way, and check where the other piece of fabric lines up.
  • Undo the zipper, pin the second side of the zipper in place along the steamed seam line and sew in place. Backstitch before the slider.
  • Do the zipper up, flip to WS and stitch from bottom of zipper to end of seam using the adjustable zipper foot to get really close to the stopper. Start a couple of stitches above where the invisible zipper stopped. Press SAs open below zipper from both WS and RS. Steam invisible zipper from RS.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Craftsy 2: Designer Techniques for Bras

  • Lesson 1: Turn a full band bra (eg Pin up Girls Classic Bra) into a partial band


  • A partial band bra has no frame under the cups and a smaller bridge. This allows greater design freedom. and eliminates the rolling of the bottom elastic of a full band bra, good for large tummies. The underwire channeling turns to the inside of the cup, cw the channeling on a full band bra turning outside towards the frame.  The partial band cups are therefore larger to accommodate the channeling - the full band bra has the seamline on the breast side of the underwire while the partial band bra has the seamline on the chest side of the wire, so the seamline has moved over by the width of the channeling. Cannot switch cups from partial to full band bra but can convert the full band bra pattern to a partial bra pattern, applying same fit alterations as made for the full band bra. Therefore, trace off adjusted full band bra pattern pieces and then make changes into a partial band bra.

Drafting the cups

  • Add the width of the channeling eg 3/8 to the CF line of the upper cup.
  • Add the width of the channeling eg 3/8" to the lower line of the lower cup

Drafting the band

  • Overlap the frame and back band pattern pieces by ½" and tape together. 
  • Draw elastic SA  (½") onto lower edge of back band.
  • Draw ¼" SA around wire line from top edge of frame around to CF.
  • Draw from back band to B notch (where the cup curve starts to go vertical), a pretty straight line. Add ½" SA, joining vertically to the B notch. This forms the back band - the new seamline under the wire down to the bottom of the frame and across the back band. This can either be sewn as one in the same fabric (powernet) or treated as two separate pattern pieces by separating at the band/frame seamline and making from two different fabrics.

  • Make a line from uner the cup to the CF, making an S. This curve should sit a little higher than the bottom of the back band. Add ¼" SA under this line. Therefore, the new bridge pattern piece will be from the new wire seam line down and then across to CF. f


  • Use a washable marker to mark the notches - don't snip, the SAs are only ¼" and are too prone to getting cut into.
  • Add stickers to the right sides of the fabric pieces.
  • Staytape the neckline and underarm area of the upper cups from strap to wireline, using either twill tape (can be bulky) or a strip of tricot (= duoplex) - use a shorter stitch length and sew with ⅛" seam so it remains invisible after the elastic/straps have been sewn in place.
  • Sew inner lower cup to outer lower cup and press seam open.
  • Sew upper cup to lower cup at internal seam line with absolutely no stretching, from point to point, with just a pin at either end. Stitch using an edge stitch foot in ¼" seam with the lower cup on top (helps prevent the seam from stretching out) and a stitch length of 2.5. Make sure not to stretch the upper layer as you sew.
  • Press cup seams open over a newell knob screwed onto a piece of wood with lots of steam. Topstitch both sides of the cup seam with a 3.5 stitch length at 1/16", pulling the seam apart as you go. Trim the SAs back to the stitching line using Pelican scissors.
  • Form the bridge. Lie two rectangular pieces of bridge fabric (either same e.g. duoplex, or could cut e.g. sheer cup lining + decorative fabric; add interfacing layer if needed - aiming at 0% stretch for the bridge) bigger than the bridge pattern piece, RS together. With a washable marker, draw around the bridge pattern piece. Sew with a straight stitch, through both layers, along bottom of bridge with SA 1'4". Cut around outline, trimming off corners. Clip into curve and turn to the RS. This gives a much more accurate line than cutting the bridge pieces out first and trying to sew that tiny seam line. Baste the raw edges at ⅛".
  • Sew bridge to cups. With RS together, pin top of bridge to top of cup only then walk the two curves together using a stitch length of 2.5. At the bottom of the bridge, don't stop, continue stitching just the cup all the way along the wire line = stay stitching. Check that the two cups are even across the bridge.
  • Sew elastic to the back band. Sew elastic (½ - 3/4" wide) to the bottom of the band (note that the band may be cut all in one or in two with a seam), laying RS together with picot edge facing in and stitching with a zig-zag (width = 2.5. length = 2) close to the picot edge. Trim SA, turn elastic to inside and stitch with 3-step zig-zag (width = 5, length = 2.5).
  • Sew cups to the band. Sew the edge of the band to the side of the cup, using the staystitching as a guide and sewing to the bottom of the elastic. This leaves the lower edge of the cup raw (will get covered by the channeling).
  • Sew channeling to the cups. Precurve the channeling with steam. With RS bra facing up, fold one band in over the cup and the other band/cup/bridge in and over the cup, exposing the wire line.

  • Lie the channeling from the band end with the channeling curving away from the curve of the cup. so that it will turn into place. Stitch, starting about 1" away from the edge  of the band, right on the edge of the channeling, following the staystitch line and pulling the channeling into place. Stop about ½" before the top of the bridge. Turn the channeling to the inside.

  • Complete strap elastic and neckline elastic as for the full band bra.
  • Topstitch the channeling. Start at the bridge and sew 1/16" from the channeling edge, pulling the layers apart so no pleats form. Make sure that the outside edge of the channeling matches up with the seaplane at the very edge. Don't keep the channeling out of the way of the edge, sew it in place.
  • Sew the channel in place. Turn the bra over and sew from the wrong side along the very edge of the channeling (at 1/16"), pulling the layers apart.
  • Complete the back elastic and closure as for the full band bra

Lesson 2: Modifying upper cups and straps


  • The trifecta of the neckline trim = inside strap, top of cups and top of bridge. In a traditionaly finished bra, the neckline trim takes care of all three of these together. However, if one of these is finished in a different way, the others will be affected.
  • Below are different finishes that you can pick and choose for different looks.

Straight top cups

  • No neckline trim, the cup fabric is doubled and gives a clean, tailored look. Can be used on full or partial band bra. Allows a variety of strap styles as there is no strap tab on the upper cup.
  • Drafting the upper cup. Draw a line across the top of the upper cup including across the strap tab.

  • Continue the underarm curve on the upper cup up through the strap tab to meet the first line.

Long or short tapered straps

  • Short tapered strap. Fold lengthwise, WS together, and lie on top corner of upper cup, RS together, keeping in mind the ¼" SA that will be sewn. If using neckline elastic along the top, sew this in now. If doing a straight double cup, insert the short tapered strap in between the two layers and sew in place.

  • Strap elastic finishes the underarm curve edge of the strap.

Padded straps

  • Good for large, heavy cups. Padding can be fully enclosed or not.
  • Draft the strap. Tape usual strap pattern piece to a piece of paper and mark where the shoulder will be - for most women this is 6 - 8" above the upper cup. At that mark, mark ¼" each side of the strap and then draw tapering lines to the original strap lines, using a French curve.

  • The padding doesn't cover the full width of the strap, because turning the elastic needs room.  ie turn of the cloth. Mark 3/8" allowance on strap pattern piece on all 3 non-tapered edges; at the tapered end stop 3/4" away from the edge.
  • Use Cut n Sew foam (not craft) in ⅛" thick. Cut foam to pattern above. Use a glue stick to glue padding to WS of strap. Sew strap to upper cup making sure to catch the padding into the seam line.
  • Sew first pass of underarm elastic and first pass of neckline trim to the bra cup. Sew the second passes of the elastic and trim, covering the edges of the foam padding. Consider the width of the strap when selecting the width of the 3-step zig zag and make it proportional.

Lesson 3: Modifying the Frame

Thin Full band bra

Monday, 26 December 2016

Installing Grommets

I recently made Claude the Clio dress by Tilly and the Buttons which called for grommets and jeans buttons. This is how to install them.

  • Mark the position on the fabric and poke a hole through the fabric with a nail or sharp screw.
  • Press the button back through from the WS of the fabric and add the button front to the RS.
  • Place face down over a cast iron pan and hammer in place.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Craftsy Class 1: Constructing & Fitting a Bra

These notes are taken from my latest Craftsy course, Bra making Fit and Construction, with Beverly Johnson. I chose to make the same bra that is featured in the course, the Pinup Girls Classic Full Band Bra. Note that seam allowances are ¼" throughout, typical for bra making.

Lesson 1: Fitting and Fabric

  • Take your high bust and full bust measurements and round up to the nearest even number. For me, that was 42 and 46". My band size is therefore a size 42. My cup size is the difference between the two measurements (4") which correlates to a letter of the alphabet - 1" = A, 2"' = B etc so 4" = D cup. The underwire should be longer than you need and the same as the band size i.e. 42". I ordered WL42 along with the kit from Sew Squirrel online.
  • DOGS = Direction/amount Of Greatest Stretch. May not be same as grainline.
  • Band fabric - always good to have spandex in it for a little extra recovery. Aim 25 - 40% stretch measuring 10" in an inch or two from the edge of the fabric. Examples of band fabric include: (1) Techsheen (a type of power net) and (2) mesh.
  • Frame fabric - you never want to have spandex in it, too much stretch. Aim < 20% stretch. Examples of frame fabric include (1) Duoplex (can use shiny or matte side), which is similar to tricot, has 5 - 10% stretch (2) Simplex, (3) a stable lace, and (4) woven fabric cut on the bias.

Lesson 2: Getting Started

  • Mark the DOGS on each piece of fabric then pin the pattern pieces to the fabrics with arrows parallel to the DOGS.
  • Use a small rotary cutter (18mm is best) to cut out the pieces - you could draw around the pieces first for greater accuracy.
  • Use a washable marker to mark the notches - don't snip, the SAs are only ¼" and are too prone to getting cut into.
  • Add stickers to the right sides of the fabric pieces.
  • Staytape the neckline and underarm area of the upper cups from strap to wireline, using either twill tape (can be bulky) or a strip of tricot (= duoplex) - use a shorter stitch length and sew with ⅛" seam so it remains invisible after the elastic/straps have been sewn in place.
  • Sew upper cup to lower cup at internal seam line with absolutely no stretching, from point to point, with just a pin at either end. Stitch using an edge stitch foot in ¼" seam with the lower cup on top (helps prevent the seam from stretching out) and a stitch length of 2.5. Make sure not to stretch the upper layer as you sew.
  • Press cup seams open over a newell knob screwed onto a piece of wood with lots of steam. Topstitch both sides of the cup seam with a 3.5 stitch length at 1/16", pulling the seam apart as you go. Trim the SAs back to the stitching line using Pelican scissors.
  • Sew the straps to the upper cups, the square end of the strap to the cup not the tapered end, so that the straps lie pointing away from the midline. Press the strap seams closed and up towards strap. Topstitch 2 lines of stitching on the strap, at 1/16" and ⅛"
  • Sew the back band to the band frame, matching seam lines. Press SAs towards front frame and topstitch with 2 lines.
  • Sew the cups to the band, sewing with the band on top and only 2 pins.
  • Mark ½" down from the CF and 1" down from the underarm, on the cup.
  • Cut channeling pieces 2" longer than underwire. Press the underwire channeling into a half-circle curve using steam. Sew channeling to upper side of cup SA only (use a wider size of channeling for larger cup sizes), lining up the edges of the channeling with the seam line and not using pins. The aim is to sew exactly on the seamline. Only sew the channeling up to the ½" mark from the neck edge of the cup and to the 1" mark down from the side of the cups. The channeling will extend either end.
  • Turn the channeling toward the band side of the bra, away from the cup, and edge stitch close to the seam line from the right side, making sure to pull fabric away from the seam line so no pleats form.

Lesson 3: Sewing the Elastic

Bottom band elastic

  •  Choose ½ - 3/4" width elastic with little stretch - plush side goes next to the body. Measure the length of the lower frame/band and cut elastic to length.
  • Mark the band with a washable marker at the following points: under each cup where the curve changes at either side ( = total of 4 marks).
  • With RS together sew elastic to bra band - picot edge towards the body of the bra - using a zig-zag stitch (L = 2, W = 2.5). Sew right next to the picot edge with no stretch of the elastic until the first mark. Needle down. Between marks, stretch elastic by ½", stitch to mark making sure to keep the (curved) edges even.
  • Between the cups, clip the band fabric at ½" intervals so that the curved edge of the band lies flat. Stitch to next mark. Needle down, stretch elastic by ½", stitch to next mark. Stitch to the end. When the bra is laid out, the lower curve of the frame/band should be gentle not wavy. Trim the band SA.
  • Turn elastic to inside and stitch on opposite edge of elastic edge using a 3-step zig zag (L = 1, W = 5). Sew from inside, manipulating the curves under the bust and keeping the channeling out of the way.

Side elastic

  • Choose 5/16" or 3/8" wide elastic.
  • Sew elastic along the outside of strap (not stretched), along the side of the cup (stretched by 1" - make sure to hold the fabric either side of the needle so the needle doesn't break), and along the back band (slightly stretched) using a zig zag (L = 2, W = 2.5). Sew with RS together and picot towards the strap. Flip elastic to the inside, trim the strap SA and sew near picot edge using 3-step zig zag (L = 1, W = 4).

Neckline Trim

  • Pin tails of channeling down, out of the way.
  • Pin the cup SAs towards the bridge CF
  • Stitch the neckline trim runs down the inside edge of the strap (not stretched), across the top of the cup (not stretched), across the bridge (not stretched) and back up, with RS together using a zig zag (L = 2, W = 2.5) and keeping the stitching on the elastic (outer) part of the trim. Dont't flip and re-stitch the trim yet.

Bar Tacks

  • Bar tacks stop the underwire from pushing out of the channeling.
  • On inside, at CF, fold neckline trim down and lay both channels on top of the trim. Mark upper and lower edge of trim on channeling. On lower line, straight stitch across and back (L = 1), then zig zag across and back (L = 0.8, W = 1.5), on the channeling only.
  • Cut channeling off at upper mark so that the ends will fit under the neckline trim.
  • Sew other side of neckline trim (not stretched) using a 3-step zig zag (L = 1, W = 4)  making sure the channeling follows the cup seam and the ends are tucked under, using 1 pin at the CF. The bar tack should lie along the lower edge of the neckline trim.
  • On the inside, stitch the other side of the channeling in place, making sure there is enough room for the underwire.

Lesson 4: Finishing the back band

Applying the strap elastic

  • Strap elastic is available in 3/8- 1" widths with fancy edges, a satin face and a plush back. Sliders and rings should be the same size as the elastic width.
  • Cut 10" of the elastic and push one end up through the slider, over the centre bar and down the other side, forming a short ½" tail. Stitch from the RS using a short straight stitch and zipper foot, across and back twice (= 4 rows).
  • Slide ring onto strap with WS up. Take tail and pass up through slider, over centre bar and down the other side, leaving a long tail.
  • Check that the width of the back band is the same size as the hook and eye closure and if not, trim to fit.
  • Pin the strap to the lower curve of the back band on RS. Straighten the fabric to fit the straight elastic even though there might be pleats formed and pin. Stitch on the inside edge to top of bra band, form 2 steps across top, then stitch down middle of strap, and 2 steps across the bottom, using a lightning stitch.
  • Thread fabric strap though ring, from front to back, and pin in place. Stitch in place with straight stitch, across and back, twice.

Attaching the hooks and eyes

  • Note that the LHS of the band has the eyes.
  • Clean up the back band edge.
  • Insert band into raw edge of eye band. Stitch across the end of the band, turn, take 2 steps, sew across to the other end, turn and take 2 steps back to the beginning.
  • For the hook band, insert in the same way as for eyes, or, if there is no prefinished pouch for the hooks but instead a flap, fold flap down and under bra band and stitch in place from hook side using a straight stitch and zipper foot to get close to hooks.

Inserting the underwire

  • Insert the underwire with the low end toward CF and bar tack in place.

Lesson 5: Fitting

There should be no large vertical pleats under the strap area (= cups too big)
There should be no overflow at the top of the bra or underneath (= cups too small)
Bra band should be snug and not ride up at the back (=band too big)
Straps shouldn't move outwards or pull bra up at the front (= straps too short)

Straps wrong length

  • If the straps are too long or too short, cut off/add on 2" to the square end of the strap pattern.
  • Note that straps sitting too far in or too far out is a cup issue, not a strap issue.

Band wrong length

  • Slice the band pattern vertically and add or subtract width. Make sure to true the top line again from furthest points which don't change.
  • If the straps are sitting too far out, move their position on the back band by elongating the top line of the back band towards CB by ½ - 3/4". Redraw the curve from lower scoop point to the newly drawn point.

Side seam fit

  • Check the fit of the side seams, particularly for any excess around the side seam line. If there is excess, eg can pinch out an inch at the top of the side seam, you may need a dart.
  • To do this, on pattern alter both front frame and back band at the side seam area. Draw a line from ½" in from top of the frame side seam almost to the lower corner (forming a hinge) and move the flap across eg ½" and tape in place. Do the same to the bra band side seam. Redraw the top line between the side seam point and the top point.

Bottom band

  • If the bottom band rolls at the side or there is a horizontal pleat, usually at about ½ - 3/4" up from the side seam.
  • Lie the frame and band pattern pieces together, matching side seam lines (draw them in). Mark a point ½" up the side seam on both frame and band. Draw a curved lower line from the mark down towards the centre of the cup on the frame and towards the bra back on the band.
  • Redraw the short end of the bra band back to form a 90o angle.

Altering the bridge

  • The bridge can be too wide (feels like the wires pressing on the breast tissue so need to trim ⅛" from CF fold on pattern) or too narrow (feels like wires and cups are pulling apart so need to add ⅛" to CF fold on pattern).
  • If the bridge is okay at the top but too narrow or wide at the bottom of the bridge (eg a gap forming under the CF if the bridge is too wide), you may need to add a dart. Draw a line from CF corner at the top of the bridge almost to lower edge, ¼" in from CF (forming a hinge) and move flap in the desired amount. Make the lower edge and top edge 90o. Do the opposite if the bridge is too narrow at the lower edge. Draw in new DOGS line parallel to new line.

Front strap position

  • On the upper cup pattern, draw a line from the outer, lower side point of the strap area across to 1" before the edge of the pattern, parallel to the DOGS line, and up to the top of the pattern. Cut along the line and move whole piece e.g. ½" towards CF or CB. True the line from lower point of strap to lower point of cup, the points that don't move.

CF neckline is baggy

  • If the CF neckline is baggy a dart can be taken out of the upper cup eg ¼".  To do this, cut almost from ½" in on top right of upper cup to the lower right point, forming a hinge. Overlap the hinge pattern piece over the larger left pattern piece by eg ¼" and tape in place.
  • Re-cruve the top line from the known points ie the top right point of the upper cup over to the top left point near the strap, using a French Curve. Trim off the excess pattern.
  • If the neckline is too tight, do the opposite.

Rounding the crown

  • Tape the lower cup to a piece of paper and mark ⅛" at the CC mark. Redraw curve to the left of the mark. Add an amount equal to that taken away, to the other side of the cup. Walk the upper cup seam line around the new lower cup seam line, either side of the CC notch, and redraw as necessary to make seam line lengths match.

Lower cup flattening

  • If the volume of the lower cup is rounder than the fabric, a flattened area will appear just above the underwire. This can be eliminated by splitting the lower cup and building in extra room.
  • On the lower cup, draw a line from the CC point to point A. Cut along the line, separate and tape each pattern piece (inner lower cup and outer lower cup) to paper. Draw a line from top and bottom corner of each pattern piece using a French curve that adds ⅛" at middle between marks. Use the same numbers on the French Curve to add to both pattern pieces. Add ¼" SA. Add a notch towards the top of one new line and transfer exactly to the other by tracing it.
  • Alter the DOGS on each pattern piece. On the inner lower cup piece draw a line form ~ ⅓ of the way along the lower seam line (from the newly notched line) to the apex. Note that this will be nothing like the old DOGS line; it aims to push the breast. Turn the pattern piece over and trace DOGS onto the outer lower cup pattern piece.

Lesson 6: Bra embellishment

  • Add rigid lace or embroidered tulle to the bra, considering mirroring or at least balancing the pattern.
  • Cut the lace the same shape as the upper cup top and sides but let the lower edge fall over the cup seam. Glue in place with a Uhu stick while the pattern pieces are flat, construct the cup seam and then attach the free edge of the lace.
  • To attach the free edge of the lace (usually scalloped), use a wide zig zag and a lighter pressor foot pressure

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Sew an Invisible Zipper

This technique is courtesy of the Sewing Divas.


  1. Pin the back seam together and mark where the zipper will end, leaving 5cm of zipper below the mark. Mark with chalk on the zipper and also on the seam allowances.
  2. Machine baste where the zipper will go down to the bottom mark, then change the stitch length and sew the rest of the seam. Press the seam open with a hard press.
  3. Gently press the zipper tape and teeth open, on low heat.
  4. Remove the basting stitches and align the zipper, face down, on the seam. Pin so that the teeth are aligned with the pressed edge. Pin the zipper to the seam allowances only.
  5. Machine baste the zipper to the seam allowances down the middle of the tape. Do the zipper up and check that the zipper has been inserted evenly.
  6. With a zipper foot, sew close to the teeth from top to bottom on both sides, stopping at the lower mark.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Insert an Exposed Zipper

This technique is taken from Simplicity #1168, a Threads pattern. I used this on Claude's snake print dress.


  1. Interface either side of the zipper opening.
  2. Stitch CB seam from bottom zipper marking and press seam open.
  3. Press open 3/4" on CB edges above bottom zipper marking.
  4. On outside, pin closed zipper to CB with RS facing and zipper top towards the hem of the garment (thebottom of the zipper should be about ½" below the bottom zipper marking).
  5. Stitch across the end of the zipper ½" above the zipper stop.
  6. Flip the zipper up and centre it over the opening edges. Baste across the neck edge.
  7. On the inside, pin the zipper in place with pressed edges along the zipper teeth. Baste close to pressed edges but not along the lower end of the opening.
  8. On the outside, topstitch the zipper tape along the basting (ie edgestitching the pressed edges.
  9. Stitch a second line of topstitching close to the edges of the zipper teeth and across the bottom. Remove basting.