Thursday, December 11, 2014

I made bras!

I made a bra! In fact I've made TWO bras!

Bras are all the rage on the sewing blogs right now.  And with every one I saw, I just thought “That’s too hard, too fiddly, and you need all these little bits!”.  Also I was kind of embarrassed?  But now I realise “WOMEN WEAR BRAS!  STOP BEING DUMB!"
Then my wonderful Mum saw an ad in the paper for a one-day bra-making workshop.
I gathered up three friends and we applied.  Materials and kits were to be provided, we just needed our machine. 
And this is what I made!
On my dressform, because, you know.  Unfortunately it doesn’t fit the dressform all that well, because she doesn’t actually have boobs - she has boob loaf.  She's also not squishy like a human.  However, I am pleased to report that it fits ME perfectly and I’ve hardly worn anything else!
The pattern is THIS ONE, from an Australian company that is hilariously named Booby Traps.  It’s a soft-cup bra, no padding or moulded cups.  I know the pattern photo is pretty dreadful - why didn’t they make sure the bra was fitting the model properly?  But it’s a great pattern that worked really well for me and all my friends.  It looks pretty similar to the Malborough bra Lauren of Lladybird made HERE.
I made a size 10B which is my usual size in the shops.  The fabrics are tricot, lace, and some thick elastic fabric I forget the name of.  The lace is just decoration and was tacked onto the tricot before construction. Other materials are two rings, two sliders, underwires, a casing for the  underwires, strapping, elastic for the bottom edge, hooks and eyes, and a tiny bow to sew on the centre front to hide any messy stitching there.  It’s a lot of extra bits.  You can get them at Lincraft or other craft stores (I guess bra making is more common than I thought).  I’m planning on deconstructing some bras I don’t like so I can make some more with the notions.
Construction was a bit fiddly because it’s just so small compared to the long straight seams I usually like doing!  First, sew the upper cup to lower cup.  Then sew the frame together (back to side to middle to side to back).  Then sew the cups into the frame.  Then sew the elastic along the bottom.  Then sew the underwire casing to the frame (not the cup!).  Then the underarm elastic.  Then the rings and straps.  It’s fiddly.
Here's a photo of the bra inside out so you can see some of the inside workings.  The seam in the middle of the cups could be irritating to sensitive people but mine is fine.  I just sewed the seam allowance down close to the edge.  It's not like it rubs, bras are supposed to stay put!

Here is the one I made at home from the kit:
The tricot mesh that came with this kit was much much thinner than the one we used at the workshop, which meant I had to put lace on the upper and lower bra cups (for modesty).  You can see at the front the dressform's grey skin is showing!  So obviously I had to put lace on it!

The lace is tacked onto the lining pieces before seaming, which can be quite fiddly.  But because this particular lace is so busy, you don't see the seamline at all!

 The lace was also quite stretchy and the lining extremely firm so I have some bumps in places.  This one seems to be a bit tighter as a result of the fabric being less stretchy. But it fits and I remembered how to do it!  On my own it took about 3 or 4 hours, and in the class it took 6. So I'm getting quicker!

On the Booby Traps website you can also buy kits with the fabric and notions provided.   There are some really cute kits on that website!  The one I bought (I got it at the workshop and can’t find it online) is a pretty soft blue but next I’m thinking of THIS one… 
 or THIS one... or THIS one… Booby Traps also sells a bunch of ready-to-wear lingerie… but we’re not into that right?  It’s all about the DIY!
So I’m totally converted!  I’m immensely proud of myself for making something so fiddly. I'm going to start making ones from stash fabric and see how that turns out!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Completed - knitted sunhat?!?!

So a friend's birthday was coming up and she requested that I make her a sunhat!
Originally she had suggested a pattern which was crocheted and was for babies and was in russian or something.  So I suggested this pattern instead, which was knitted, for grownups, and in English!
Pattern: Wind and Sea
My Ravelry Notes Here

The knitting went very well, all fine and done in a day and a half.  The problem came when I had to find the millinery wire for the brim.  Lincraft had NO millinery wire, so I bought some stuff called "memory wire".  When I got it out of the packet it was just like a slinky and didn't want to straighten. This is what happened when I tried to straighten it and put it in the brim:
Obviously not working.  
So I went to my parents' house and dad had some wire leftover from some other project.  After straightening out it worked out ok.  So it's done!
Present sorted.  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Completed - Miss Marple Scarf

So I wanted a quick knit after my stupendous effort on the last cardigan.  I have wanted the Miss Marple scarf for ages and I had this lovely yarn, so I made it!

I only have the one photo.  The yarn is my Touch Yarns and it's a merino/possum blend.  It's so incredibly soft and bouncy!  Since  I only had the 4ply I had to double it up, which worked well and I only have a few little scraps left. 
Here in Australia it's illegal to kill possums as they're a native species and are protected.  This yarn is from New Zealand, where the same breed of possum is a huge pest.  So... I'm helping the New Zealand environment my knitting their possums!
It was my first time balling up a hank of yarn.
I was concerned that I wouldn't have enough yardage for the whole scarf, so I knit the two ends separately and then grafted the scarf together in the middle.  It's invisible and I had plenty of yarn!  In fact it might even be a smidge too long now - it has stretched!  I'm washing it now and I've tried to make it a little shorter again in the blocking process.

I love the way this scarf looks folded over like a collar!  It's such a tricky design with the little slots you poke the other end through.  I've pretty much been wearing it nonstop!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How to make bath bombs!

I love bath bombs!  I used to spend a bunch of money on fancy ones from Lush (which are super amazing) but soon realised that the ingredients are things that I have at home.  After a bit of research and trial and error, here is my method for making lovely fizzy smelly bath bombs - easily!

First, here's what you'll need.
Bi-carb soda (sodium bicarbonate)
Citric acid
Food dye
Epsom salts
Scented oil - essential oil, massage oil, food flavouring oil.  I found some vanilla-scented massage oil.  Make sure it can be used on the skin. If you don't want a scent use olive oil.
Cookie cutters
Mixing bowl and mixing device (like a spoon or whisk)
Glad wrap

Epsom salts are supposed to be good for your muscles when you soak in a bath.  I don't know why. 

You need two parts bi-carb soda, and one part of each epsom salts and citric acid.  Since the citric acid comes in a little container I use that to measure out the rest.

First, add the epsom salts to a bowl and add your food dye.  Make sure you do this FIRST, since if you add food dye to the whole dry mixture it'll fizz.  
Colours I recommend: Pink, Blue, Purple, Green.
Colours I don't recommend: Yellow, red.  Just because it'll seem like you weed or bled in the bath.

Now add the citric acid and bi-carb and mix around!

Now you have a dry mixture that's pretty and colourful.  Now you can add your oil.  The oil is not only the scent but also is the sticking agent, so add enough that you can make a shape with the mixture when you squeeze it - but not too much.  Because it's oil and not water, it won't fizz!

Lay out your glad wrap and put your cookie cutters on top.  Start spooning the mixture in and squish them down as hard as you can.  The more you squish the mixture the longer it'll fizz in the bath!
Leave them in their moulds for a while and then gently push them out.  Leave them to dry for a day or so.  Make sure you don't pile them together or you'll end up with one giant massive bath bomb!  They will FUSE.
Enjoy your fizzy pretty aromatic bath!  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Completed - Vintage teal cardigan!

I have been working on this for some time now, but I am happy to present my new teal cardigan!
(Excuse my shirt peeping out from underneath)

Pattern: Cardigan, by Patons Australia (a very old pattern from the 70s I think)

This pattern was given to my by my great-auntie Norma (my dad's auntie).  I liked a few things in this little booklet but this is by far my favourite:
It was written for Patons Bluebell yarn, which is a 5-ply.  I think it's still available, but I had some Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic 5ply in my stash in a gorgeous jewel teal colour so I decided to use that!
My only modification was to omit the pointy shoulders.  They are achived by increasing on either side of the moss stitch band in the sleeve for a couple of inches, at the same time decreasing for the set-in sleeve.  So I just didn't increase at the moss stitch band.
This cardigan is made on size 3.5mm needles in pieces.  The body is plain stocking stitch but the edges are done in a lovely moss stitch pattern.  This moss stitch band goes right up the sleeves and forms a saddle shoulder at the top.
You can see clearly here how the moss stitch goes across the shoulder, continuing down the sleeves.
Before blocking the whole thing felt a little itchy and coarse but after a good soak, it softened considerably and now feels super lightweight and comfortable.  It's like a completely different fibre now!
I chose 6 wooden pentagon buttons - aren't they cute!
Back - as you can see it's not so fitted that it's uncomfortable.
This took me quite a while to knit becaue of the relatively fine gauge and moss stitch pattern.  But now I have it I'm practically wearing it constantly!  What did I do without it?!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Completed - Jacket!!

Things have been a bit quiet here on the ol' blog.  I apologise!  Work and husband stuff has been taking up my life.  Husband stuff is not what you'd think, it's actually us doing a whole lot of performances and work for his studies.  It's fun and I'd never say no, but it takes time.

So!  Here's the jacket I made last term (!) for my course at CIT.  I am really happy with it, and wow I even passed the course!
I'm afraid that's the best photo there is.  

The pattern is Vogue 8701, which also has a really nice dress pattern.  Might get onto that soon too!

No buttons, just pinned at CIT.

The fabric is a wool tweed I found at a St Vinnie's in Braidwood.  The places you find things!

The lining is a silk/cotton from Spoonflower, which has small screw heads as the print!

Cute back pleat detail.

So yes!  I'm loving this new jacket.  It's wonderfully warm and structured.  It took me a loooong time to complete, as it's so detailed and difficult, but it was worth the effort.  I have some lovely dark brown wool to make a second version now too!!

In one of my recent Craft Catchup videos I looked at this jacket in detail.  Worth a look if you're interested in jackets!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Arts and Crafts Show 2014 - Snapshots!

Today I've finally got some snapshots from this year's Arts and Crafts Show at my church.  I personally made about $150 from selling my homemade lemon marmalade and a couple of knitted hats!  I also sold another Dr Who scarf and a crochet blanket!  It was funny, I was actually on the sales desk and was the person to sell the blanket to the buyer, and she was so pleased to meet the maker.  The Show is such a lovely community event!
Notes below each picture!

Christmas cakes!  These are supposed to keep for over 6 months and they looked amazing!

Cute little pincushions made of colourful socks!

A small selection of the silk scarves

Colourful knitting for children

Isn't this little cardigan adorbs?  I'm thinking of making a big one for myself!

Cute little toys.  I'm sure I had a scarecrow just like this little fellow.

Covered coathangers - always useful!

Super cute felt Christmas decorations - these angels went flying out the door

Some pottery Potato Pots (for making the perfect microwave potato) and muffin pots!

More lovely glazed pottery

Some lovely earrings - I spoke to the lady who made these who explained the process of heating the metal, adding chemicals to get all the colours, then adding more chemicals and doing more heating and cooling.... each earring is different!  It was like alchemy.

This year the Arts and Crafts Show raised around $8000 for charities.  We gave money to some homelessness charities, Companion House (for refugees), Samaritan Fund (a Canberra Hospital charity that provides essentials to people who came to hospital with nothing), Paperworks (a local charity helping the disabled), as well as several others.

As well as craft, there were daily concerts in the church hall where Charles and I played as Sticks and Tones!  There were also billions of choirs and other ensembles.

Next year the Show is on the last weekend in June - the 26th, 27th, and 28th.  Hope to see you there!