Friday, July 30, 2010
I opted for the Cleo by Panache Frances. Panache is a British company that's been around for at least 20 years. Cleo is a recent subsidiary, near as I can tell. It seems to be trying to hit the Freya demographic. Just look at the similarities in marketing.
At any rate, I'm not sure if the prices are very good on Figleaves (that happens) or if the brand is a less pricey, sister brand. The set was a ridiculously affordable 34 pounds (40pounds if you factor in shipping without my other items).
Admittedly, I don't know how it's going to fit yet, but my other Panache bras are amongst the best fitting I have found.
Here's a photo:
I know I've got a plethora of pink underwear. I don't know why I always gravitate toward the crazy patterns and the pinks. At least this one has cool lace and lilac elements. It doesn't scream "autumn", but then summer's going to be here for a while more, I suspect.
What do you know about Cleo by Panache? It seems to be very under the radar, at least in Canada...
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I'm seriously considering investing in a serger or a coverstitch machine this fall. While my sewing machine is rather nouveau-cheap, I do feel that the place to spend is on a machine I'll use most often, to improve my knits sewing and to shave time off the process. Apparently I can cut my sewing time in half.
I've heard about 2 sergers: Baby Lock Imagine and Baby Lock Coverstitch, that get great reviews, but they ain't cheap ($1300 ish). They are Canadian-made, which I appreciate, and they make use of a jet-air threading. Please let me know what you think of them, or of your fave serger, so that I can make an informed decision.
(Note: Easy threading is a priority, as I hear this is the most unpleasant element about working with a serger or an overlocker. That's where, I understand, the Baby Lock excels.)
Also, as I'm new to the world of serging, can anyone confirm for me that the difference between a coverstitch machine and regular serger is that the coverstitch does an extra step i.e. After serging, on a coverstitch machine, one lifts the blades, folds over the hem, and completes the job with a double stitch, affixing the outer edge of the seam allowance, as well as the inner edge, to the right side of the fabric, preventing roll-up of the serged seam.
Thanks so much for any feedback!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
To clarify: They really look like bras; they are very nicely constructed (dare I say it myself) and I believe I chose lovely fabric and notions to bring out the best in the basic pattern. They just don't fit me. I mean, if you made these bras and they fit you, I'm sure you'd love them. And if they didn't - you'd likely want to hurl your 6th and 7th prototypes across the back yard.
That's where I'm at.
But then something occurred to me. I've known it for a while, but I couldn't accept it because acceptance involves something unthinkable - ripping up one of my current RTW bras.
I'll let you get over the gasp.
Let me explain: I make the same bra again and again, recognizing the pervasive problem and trying to correct the pattern every time. Maybe it's my lack of experience - maybe my 2 dimensional-to-three dimensional reasoning isn't there yet - but I get variations of the same fit issue every time. I'm actually starting to believe that the bra pattern I'm using is based on a sloper (basic figure shape) that doesn't quite suit my own. And with a bra, you need perfection or it's just not there.
I've spent a hundred hours, at least $250.00, and so much energy at this point. Doesn't it make sense to sacrifice a $100.00 purchased-from-a-store bra - one cut from the tried-and-tested Kristin-sloper - for science?
Now the RTW bra in question is almost over. If I wait any longer, it won't be useful for anything but scrap. I do still wear it though. It's one of my absolute faves. And I still have 2 pairs of very $$ undies to wear with it. Of course, unconsciously, I have always intended to purchase it again when it goes to sleep with the doilies.
What got me over the hurdle of accepting the next step in bra-making 101?
I bought another one online now. Well, yesterday. You heard it. It's not a basic but I wear it weekly. And, unbelievably (since last I bought this bra, retail in TO), the price online is so much lower, it's less than 1/2 of what I paid the first time. Admittedly, it may have come down in price, and it may be on sale. And admittedly, I own the set in 2 colourways currently, though one - the black - is in the "store" drawer, for when and if my shape changes.
As soon as it arrives, and I verify that the size is right, I'll start to unstitch the tired one. What?! Damn straight, I'm waiting. A bird in the hand...
On a side note: The lovely people at Bra Components have gifted me a batch of lingerie notions in the indigo shade I require to make use of some indigo duoplex I bought elsewhere, before considering I had nothing to match it (straps, hooks/eyes/loops/channeling).
Bra Components is a very interesting company and I intend to talk about the experience when I receive the parcel.
It seems the universe is guiding me to wait.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Let's start with this one:
It's a set by Freya (like many of my faves), in a beautiful acid yellow with pink floral accent. The velvet trim is particularly fantastic. The shot of the undies here shows them from the back, with a gorgeous key hole at the tailbone. They're softly ruffled at the bottom and vaguely boy-short-y (but in a totally feminine way).
My husband bought this for me, which is to say I took his credit card and signed it, after a particularly vicious fight. I wish this weren't what I thought of when I look at it... Alas, it's a beautiful set that looks gorgeous on.
Monday, July 26, 2010
While we debate that, let me tell you what I spent an afternoon doing.
- I started by dumping everything from everywhere out on the bed.
- That traumatized me so I opened a bottle of wine.
- Next, I reviewed everything to verify it wasn't "finished", which is to say that the elastic and fabric was in good shape. If it didn't pass the test (I'm harsh), it was discarded. Natch, there was practically none of this in the pile.
- Then, for everything other than bra sets, I considered which items I didn't love for whatever reason. If they were still in packages (stockings) or barely used camis I put them out in the free box on my lawn. (Don't be horrified. I live in downtown TO. We do that here.) Within 20 minutes the box was empty.
- I pulled out the shapewear I've never worn because I just don't get it. I'm considering offering this up to my blog friends (unless that's totally gross to do) for the cost of shipping. Or maybe even just for free. It's not undies shapewear.
- I threw out lots of socks I have always found disappointing.
- Then, I moved on to the bra sets.
(On a side note: The part of me that cares about this is at odds with the part of me that just started a new, challenging job and is trying to manage the stress that brings, loves to cook and eat, and doesn't have time to do as much yoga as would be optimal in light of all the sewing she prioritizes. What can I say? You can't have it all.)
Anyway, back to the bras... I vacillate between 2 or 3, very similar sizes depending on where I'm at and the brand of bra I'm wearing. Remember: I only wear stuff that fits perfectly. I will not pillow or swim. In as much as, at whatever size and shape I find myself, I'm convinced it's never going to change in either direction, I've lived long enough to know that either option is possible. Why should I discard the slightly fuller or smaller sets - all in good condition - simply to replace them at a future date. I mean, they don't go out of style. I have good taste. I spent a bomb. And they aren't "over". They've all got stable elastic and the fabric is in excellent condition. I decided I would put them in a separate drawer (one I had to find, which is another story),to await the day I might be happy to see them again.
Then it was time to contend with the remainder, which is to say it was time to have some fun looking at the stuff I love not all wadded up in the back of some dark drawer. I had no idea how to get everything into one drawer at this point, only that I needed one drawer for socks and stockings products, one for camis slips and scarves and that left one for undies in current rotation.
Till it hit me: Why not store my undies like the shops do - with all the bras and undies kept together (bras in front) lined up vertically (underwire tips pointing up, horseshoe curve against the drawer bottom)? They must know something about space saving, no?
So here you go:
In general I've got my neutrals, pinks, blacks and patterns organized by colour. At least they're all visible and I can grab for the bra and undies in one easy motion. I decided not to try and make it perfect - not in real life and not in photos. I spend too much time doing that and it's just not adequately productive, frankly. We all know how the undies refuse to cooperate and stay gorgeously folded, what with all the quick-grabbing that happens in the morning. And srsly, do you think less of me because this isn't utterly perfect? Not so you'll admit it anyhow!
Brief reminder: When you buy sets - at any price range - do what you can to buy at least 2, if not 3 pairs of undies - preferably of different cuts. I know it can really get pricey, but the whole thing will last so much longer, get much better rotation and suit a variety of bottoms.
OK, mega-post over and out. Now pls. do tell how you organize this key element of your wardrobe. How many bras do you own? Damn, how can I be asking this when I haven't even counted the numbers in my wardrobe. That's totally on the agenda!
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Drape Drape Gather Dress no. 3 is an unstoppable fashion classic. Give Ms. Sato her own fancy label (presuming she doesn't already have one). And give me a pat on the back cuz I KICK ASS! In other languages!
First, here's a little glimpse of the 1-piece pattern I spent many hours figuring out:
Let me tell you that I was mistaken in my last post about this. The multiple patterns in multiple sizes on one page are NOT in different colours, which is high on drugs. The reason this pattern looks like a dog's breakfast is because, initially, I added a seam allowance onto the fold cut side (right) which, after scrutinizing the photos in the book, appears not to be there. Its removal had impacts on the part where the bottom meets the top. I had to tape them together but the seam allowances there were off as a result of the removed seam allowance on the fold.
It occurred to me that, the second I cut off the seam allowances, no doubt the fates would require me to have them, so I folded them back instead of cutting them off. Nonetheless, just looking at the photo is bugging me.
Here's a look at the cut fabric:
Why didn't she call it the butterfly dress??
Somehow, between very good photos and an arguably drastically improved sense of three-dimensional reasoning - or maybe just a good day - I ended up with this:
This one is too large in the waist and hips and too tight in the chest. I used rayon jersey, instead of a woven, which gave me a lot of latitude. I actually darted the side under arm (at bust, in 2 places on each side) to suit my shape. Only with stretch can one take fabric away when, arguably, one requires more, and still achieve the desired shape. The seams on this are horrifying. One of the things I've got to sort out is how to make the chest on this slightly wider and a bit longer.
I opted not to hem it. It was cut with the rotary blade and it's totally straight. I think it gives the dress an edge. I also opted to omit the zipper, which is unnecessary with the jersey, but I should have stabilized the back neck with clear elastic tape. I will do this as soon as I find some.
The shape at the hips is a tulip. I imagine, if one were wide in the hips, this would not be the ideal. On a narrow-framed hourglass, however, it's ideal. Esp. one with medium-sized breasts (maybe C cup).
Its most fabulous feature is the neckline which is stupendous. And the gathered sleeve - so chic and so complex.
My initial thoughts about the sizing: It's not crazy small, though I did make it in a stretch fabric . I would say the large is like a medium. For me that means too small in the chest and too big in the bottom. I'm thinking of doing a pretty major - but easy, I think - alteration to the hip gather at the front (darting it on the outside so that the centre-most gathers affix on top of the gathers wider out). It will narrow the hips and give extra volume, effectively making the tulip more extreme. You can't see how that would occur in the photos. But if I put it on and pinched the fabric I want to adjust, you'd see immediately what I mean.
So, now I will go drink a glass of wine, eat some creme patissiere with nectarines and think about my accomplishments and what I still need to learn.
It's been a very good day.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
You know I'm not a hoarder. I'm not even a keeper. I look for any reason to pack something away, give something away, throw something away. And yet I am continually acquiring beautiful bras and matching undies. OK, not continually, but when you buy high-end, the stuff really wears well and lasts. And when you have a critical mass of sets, each one is worn so relatively infrequently (but often enough) that they soldier on indefinitely.
How can I justify turning away from a gorgeous, perfectly-fitting, makes-me-feel-fabulous bit of lingerie? And then, once close to my heart, literally, how can I justify throwing it away (cuz you really can't pass it on), simply to make room for other pieces?
Seriously, it's one of those stupendously bourgeois problems that keep me up at night.
I've even become stressy about how I will have space for my homemade wares - not that I have, at this point, any real reason to worry about that eventuality :-) Thing is, when I finally crack the code of the couture bra, I'm going to have to make them tous le temps. Vraiment.
I abhor clutter. On my tombstone they may put something like "Clutter did her in". I know that everything I buy, make, every wonderful gift I receive is a thing I will be responsible to love and maintain. It takes the edge off, let me tell you.
On a related, but side note topic, yesterday I went to World Sew and bought 3 yards of chocolate rayon jersey to make the Drape Drape no. 3 gather dress (which is coming along - at least on paper). No, it's not "super cheap in case I wreck it" (thanks Scott) but it is stretchy and I'm starting to have concerns about the tiny Asian slopers (i.e. pattern blocks) which form the basis of the dress size/proportion I'm about to make. I'm not even risking Large in a woven. I'm building in some ease :-)
Anyway, even as I was buying, I couldn't stop thinking about how much material I was taking on - never mind the finished product I will, sewing goddess willing, need to find a spot for in my fairly full wardrobe. I don't know how much fabric the dress is going to eat (I can't figure it out in Japanese), but I sure as hell don't want to be 90% of the way there and 6 inches short. Alas, that's fabric I have to store and look at until it's used up and what if I use up too much to have enough left over for something else but there's still too much to feel ok about discarding. The world's not getting any tidier.
OK, I can see I need to stop with this. PMS has me in its grip.
Point is, next post, I will tell you what I've done to resolve the lingerie organization crisis. It's not pretty - oh, who are we kidding, it's pretty!
Stay tuned. And tell me about your own underwear storage concerns, fiascos, scenarios etc. while we wait.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
For my birthday, Nicole gave me the most fantastic sewing book: Drape Drape by Hisako Sato. The design is phenomenal – all flowy-plus with many opportunities for sewing with jersey, my personal fabric fave.
The arguable downside is that the book is in Japanese. After the debacle of the last 2 weekends, wherein I spent more than 2 dozen hours sewing 2 bras, neither of which fit (again), you’d think I might want to take a break. Or at least sew a pattern whose directions I can get with somewhat other than pictorially.
With his poetic sense of metaphor, Scott suggested I aim to avoid potentially smashing with a hammer, the finger I have already gashed with a knife. (What a silver tongue.)
Just call me a masochist.
A host of posts on this book and the beauty of the one-piece Gather Dress No. 3 are compelling me to give it a go. Of course, it may be easier to learn Japanese that to make this dress – I’m not fooled by its one-pieced-ness. It’s gathered in 47 places (give or take).
On the plus side, it took no time at all to read the directions!
Drape Drape is one of those Euro-style pattern books that prints six different patterns, in six different colours, all one on top of the other on the same oversized page. Having finally seen one of these up close, I shrieked with laughter. Like inappropriately. On observing me (and the page), the unflappable poet said: That is utterly ridiculous. What are you making? A jet?
The beauty of needing nothing, while simultaneously knowing nothing, is that the state yields its own kind of liberty. Tonight, I’m going to try to trace this baby out. If that works, I’m going to try to find a fabric in my smallish stash that will drape well. If that works maybe I’ll aim to figure out what the pictures are trying to tell me.
You'll be pleased to know that Scott advised me to make a muslin. That conversation quickly degenerated into a pedantic, 15-minute discussion wherein he accused me of being pedantic for suggesting you can’t make a muslin out of a knit fabric. (By nature muslin is woven.) His final edict: Make the freakin' dress with cheap stretchy fabric so if you wreck it, it won’t be the end of the world.
What does he know?
To my sewing friends, I would so appreciate any answers, you might have, to the following questions:
- The Drape Drape dresses appear to be made in jersey – except the one I’m going to make (No. 3) which apparently has a zipper. I did find evidence that someone else has made it in jersey without the zipper, but that might not make my job any eaiser. Can anyone clarify the best fabrics to work with?
- The sizing is S, M, ML and L. I don’t have the slightest idea which one will fit me best, if at all. There aren’t any measurements. Are these dresses cut for boyish, tiny-breasted figures (like the photo models)? Can anyone tell me what measurements these sizes correspond to?
- Are gathers generally difficult for enthusiastic, beginning sewists? I mean those who are already nuts enough to make bras but who don't have a world of experience with draping and gathering.
- Do the photos provide adequate instruction on their own?
Next Update: I'm most definitely a Large.
Next Update / Also a Question: Does anyone know if there are seam allowances built into the patterns. I doubt it entirely, but as I don't read Japanese... Any feedback would be great.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Stacy is a designer with muchos experience in the NY fashion scene. She just started her own label Stacy Lomman: New York. It's like DKNY but with an SL - and it's edgier. Check out Wendy in that amazing dress:
Just like Wendy, the dress manages to be all lady with a kick in the ass! See:
I LOVE me an exposed zipper.
You should totally check out Stacy's new site - and her blog (for your daily fashion-oriented fun).
Monday, July 19, 2010
Alec, this is my choice for the One Picture Challenge:
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
All of these photos were taken on a journey (hellishly hot, I might add) around the outside of the basse-ville (lower town) towards a scary staircase of great views leading to the Plains of Abraham. The photo of the pool (barely visible) was taken in a moment of great courage, though I actually turned around and tried to focus a camera when really I wanted to suck myself to the rickety wooden railing for dear life.
Let me say, it was a gorgeous time.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
This is a brand I don't really know but I've been using the eye cream for a few weeks and I do enjoy it. It's not particularly scented (so as I can discern). It isn't goopy and it soaks in quickly but with some nice moisture factor. I really like it with the Clinique rollerball. To be honest, I sense that each gives the other ballast - or, at least, I'm invested in believing it!
The Juice manifesto concerns using organic ingredients and sustainable methods - two ideas I can get with, though I haven't researched the company fully enough to assure you that its claims are accurate.
I don't love the name or the packaging, and you know I'm influenced by packaging. I'll get back to you at the end of the bottle which, at this rate, is going to take 6 months to get through. So check off good value for the money.
Anyone else tried this brand?
Sunday, July 11, 2010
OK, today I got closer on fit with my bra-making (see above) than ever before but fuck if it isn't the among the most elusive things I've ever tried to do. You know you're crazy when, at 11:30 p.m., on the last gasp of your vacation, you find yourself taking photos of the bra you spent all day making - only to follow it by writing a post immediately?!
When I finally get it - and, trust me, I will get it - I'm going to have a freakin' party.
There are so many "issues" with this one, I'm loathe to list them all but, in brief:
- My fun idea of using super expensive Mokuba lace, interfaced, was labour-intensive, but it yielded a weak final product. Weak in that it isn't going to last for the long term.
- I've still got an issue with the back hooks piece (of the clasp) popping out when I wear it. It might be the hooks piece (it's crappy) or the way I've attached it, but I've had this challenge every time and it persists. The only reason I'm finally turning my attention to it now is because I've almost got a working prototype, so no time like the present.
- I cut the channeling before stitching it shut at the centre. Big mistake cuz the wires really want to pop through - despite my Houdini hand-sewing of ugliness.
- There still isn't quite enough cup fabric so that the inner wire touches my chest wall, but it's close. I'm finally ready, I think, to experiment with altering that part of the pattern very slightly. I thought the issue might be about seam allowances and the front bridge, but I'm not sure. I did widen the bridge to allow for .25 inch seam allowances on the centre / fold side (which I hadn't before) but it might just be weird, rather than helpful.
- The band (at 75) is a bit too big. 70 cm was too small. Cutting it at 72.5 makes it increasingly tricky to grade the cup size for the customized back circumference, but I guess I'm couture bra sewing here so I might as well just go for it, yes?
Well, I'm giving this another go next weekend. Wish me luck.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
BTW, I made that cowl top out of rayon jersey fabric that was $3.50 a yard. Whole thing cost, like, 5 bucks and I've worn it a bunch of times. I tried to do a full bust adjustment on it (there's an empire seam you can't see) - talk about overkill! I added 3 inches but it put the seam at my navel! :-) Nonetheless, due to the busy-ness of the pattern, it can't easily be seen, it so all is well. I have made it twice - very easy, very good pattern - and will do a sweater version with the 3/4 sleeve for fall. Totally recommend it.
PS: I realize that the fabric is on the cusp of hideous. But I was experimenting and the colour-scheme really does work fabulously.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Talk about sublime. Nothing like coming home to a bunch of gorgeous lingerie and fancy product. And it's already paid for (unlike about 8000 other things :-))!
Oh, and the pièce de résistance: Every freakin' item fits parfaitement!! Seriously, it's like I had it all custom made - particularly the body suit (which I'm going to wear ad nauseum as soon as the weather turns). How unlikely is that, I ask you?
Not that I'm complaining...
I have so much to tell you, but I'm practically comatose with post-vacation info overload and holiday-brain. I'm sure the snippets are going to come at you for a long while to come though...
So, to kick things off, has anyone here bought from Figleaves or from another online lingerie vendor? If yes, what? Thoughts or feelings?
Thursday, July 8, 2010
This is just a quick post to say I miss you - and to urge you not to buy an iPad for it's blogging usability.
It's also chance to complain about the eco-ravaged planet and sun that's so hardcore my face is red and boo-booed despite heavy and regular application of my L'Occitane sunblock 40, the stuff I've used for years that works beautifully most of the time and costs 70 bucks a bottle. Did I also mention I'm wearing a hat?
When I tell you I'm sun-sensitive, I am not joking. I'm a little traumatized by how bad it looks, but I'm forging ahead. How did I end up on a walking holiday during the craziest heatwave ever?
Despite that, the atmosphere here is amazing and it's all tres calme. I've made friends with many new bottles of wine and cute servers.
I've got some great new loot including a nautical cashmere sweater, aubergine harem pants, a long drapey sweater and the sexiest dress. Everything has been on sale! Of course, posts with details will follow over the next few days when I get back. xoxo
Friday, July 2, 2010
Though they seem vaguely granola in the photos, let me assure you, they are very sexy and IMMEDIATELY comfortable. The soles are like fluffy clouds! Um, how often do I say this??
I've been looking at Campers for years, but I've never found a pair that was truly comfortable. And, you know, they are too expensive to buy them on a whim. I can tell they will look as great with shorts and dresses/skirts as they do with jeans. The small heel provides a tall illusion and the structure of the sole (and soft leather) make them walkable for hours. The colour is a warm neutral (that's how I see orange) and the shape is strong and modern.
I am totally packing them up for QC - a tremendous endorsement because, if I think I can walk in new shoes on cobblestones for hours a day, then you know they are pleasant.
Does anyone own these? Do tell about your experience...
PS: Yes, I bought them on Canada Day. Balisi on College was open?! And they were on sale from $200.00 to $160.00.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Enjoy beautiful weather (if you're in TO, at any rate) and some R&R in the back yard / park / lake / cottage.
Alas, my Figleaves order hasn't arrived in time to bring my new goodies (presuming they all fit) to QC on vacation.
Guess I'll just have to pick up something while I'm there :-)
PS: If you happen to be a new visitor to my blog because you saw my post on Already Pretty - thank you for stopping by! I'm about to go on vacation so updates may be whimsical, but please check back.