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Regarding SYHLiz bralette…

It has been a while since I wrote any blog post and a lot has changed in my sewing world since.

So much so that I decided to bite the bullet and release my first pattern. The plan was to release it as a freebie for those who follow my IG account, see what the feedback’s like and maybe release it on Etsy with some expanded options and briefs to match.

I worked on the design for a while and towards the end of the process, as I shared the news about my plans, someone commented under my post leaving an IG handle of a Russian designer and hashtag to a pattern number (not a popular one, not easily searchable). It was uncannily like the bralette I was working on. It pulled the rug right from under my feet because I thought I was bringing to the table something unique and exciting. The person who commented blocked me and didn’t even try to engage in any conversation, whilst I felt like they publicly questioned my integrity and honesty.

I knew I have not copied the pattern, or had any prior knowledge of the designer (I don’t speak or write in Russian so searching for a similar design amongst the vast number of Russian pattern websites would be impossible for me). In fact, if you look closely at both, it’s quite obvious that it is not the same pattern. The fit is different, the neckline scoop is different… I cannot tell you about artwork or instructions, because I have not looked at them nor I intend to.

By this point I invested in the fashion illustration for cover, I spent hours creating illustrations for instructions and on grading, teaching myself AI… I had many people messaging me that they were excited to try out my design. I can admit I was absolutely devastated.

I ended up contacting the other pattern designer (which was only possible thanks to Google translator) and explained the situation. She didn’t even understand initially why this would be an issue. She said that we clearly got similar taste and maybe even got inspired by the same designer along the way. To not worry and thanked me for reaching out(!). It got me thinking about pattern designs, home sewing and the sewing community and below are my musings if you’re interested.

Home sewing for many people is the only way they can get their hands on designs that would either be too expensive for them or would be impossible to obtain because the nature of the couture is that it’s exclusive i.e. scarce and as such not mass produced. For years big pattern houses got inspiration from catwalks. Carlos Correa from Vogue Patterns regularly posts side by side pictures of his patterns and catwalk inspiration. Duchess Kate had her wedding dress turned into a pattern the same year she got married, Melania Trump’s blue inauguration coat pattern was on sale practically immediately. Similarly, many indie designers have twinning patterns and it may sometimes be tricky to try telling them apart if you don’t know which pattern was used in making a garment. 

Now, let me be clear: stealing other people’s work is never ok, but, in the era where we are all bombarded by thousands of pictures every day, is it so inconceivable that two people on the opposite side of the globe create similarly looking pattern without copying one another? Because this is what’s happened here.

I am not condoning profiting on other people’s creativity. I never will. And, if a well-known pattern designer releases a very popular pattern with distinctive style lines, extremely popular hashtag, and someone else soon releases a pattern “heavily inspired” by that design, I too am left with bad taste in my mouth. This is why I am not angry with the person for pointing out the similarities between the two patterns. I am disappointed that she didn’t give me the benefit of the doubt and didn’t contact me first, before typing that passive aggressive comment (because, let’s face it, it was left there to stir drama between me and the other designer). For that reason, second time in history of my IG account (first one was an obscene remark) I will be removing this comment. Just in case anyone else comes across it and gets a wrong idea about the situation. There is absolutely no bad blood between me and the other designer. Who by the way is a very lovely lady.

Luckily, I have shared the process with my IG followers from the beginning, so it’s clear to those of you who follow SewYourHappy that I did all the work putting my pattern together and I had an avalanche of lovely, encouraging messages. Lots of you pointing out that there are many triangular bralette patterns looking identical, briefs, t-shirts and that sewing patterns are not only about the style lines but also about fit, instructions, size range and more…

With that in mind, although, admittedly, I feel like this situation sucked all the joy out of this process, I decided to go ahead as planned. Love it, hate it, comment down below. I’m keen to hear your thoughts.

Thank you for all your support and kind messages. They were very uplifting.

 

Until the next time!

Featured

Black beauty magic

I think I have a crush on Emerald Erin…

🤫 shh don’t tell my husband.

Venturing into bra making was really just a matter of time for me. I’ve always had a minor obsession with lingerie. Then kids came and with them all the ugly nursing bras and I can tell you right now, there’s nothing that makes me feel sluggish and unattractive like tired, ill-fitting and boring underwear.

I don’t really have a good explanation why I chose Erin’s Black Beauty as my first underwire pattern. Maybe it’s the aesthetic or Erin herself… cannot tell you but I’m very glad I did. My only complaint is that my measurements put me between sizes and I ended up buying the pattern twice because my actual size was in the other size group than I purchased. I then found out that Erin has a great tutorial on “sister sizing” Black Beauty so if that happens to you don’t repeat my mistake.

I have now made 5 versions of it, including a couple of test bras and I have a few pointers for you if you’ve never made an underwire bra but are keen to get started:

1) your first one will probably not fit you perfectly so do not use your expensive lush fabric on the first go or you’ll end up disappointed

Test 1
Pretty-ish but unwearable

2) I try to avoid polyester in all of my makes but there’s no way around it in lingerie. Cotton thread will break from tension eventually and your pretty make will be damaged.

Toile 2: fit perfected but cotton thread snapped after second wear

3) it’s all about the underwire. Make sure it frames your breast tissue but doesn’t dig into it.

4) join a dedicated bra sewing group. Sewing community is awesome and there’s always someone able and willing to help

5) make a fitting band. If you’re short on time, your tattas aren’t too asymmetrical you can always get away with w partial toile (see the band together, one cup and you’ll get the idea of the fit).

Not pretty? No problem! It’s all about the fit

If I was to recommend an underwire pattern to start from it actually would be the Black Beauty.

The instructions are clear and detailed and if you’ve never tried a bra before Erin’s got you covered. Plus you can purchase bra kits from her and that takes away all the hassle of trying to find all the elastics and hardware.

Below are two sets I made from those kits (I ended up with plenty of leftover fabric so yay!)

Outside
Inside
Megan Nielsen Accacia
Matchy matchy

I’m totally hooked. Bra making is magical and far less difficult than it looks!

Till the next time!

Got to love Edie

I will never understand how Sew Over It “Work to weekend” ebook is not more popular in the sewing community… It’s absolutely packed with gorgeous patterns most of which are timeless.

This post however will focus on Edie pattern alone and why I love it so much that I already made three versions, have a fourth one cut out and I’m sure that won’t be the end of it.

As far as jersey top/dress patterns go Edie has everything I look for. It’s got a simple construction, the shape is flattering and sizing is spot on. A cherry on top is the boat neckline that highlights collarbone and 3/4 sleeves, which are long enough to hide my arms (a feature both practical and aesthetically appealing to me) and short enough to stay away from ink (something that is particularly useful if you take notes by hand at work or Uni).

As with every basic pattern, this one is perfect for hacks. You can easily experiment with different neckline styles, shorten or lengthen the sleeves, or, as I did with the one below, colour block it. Possibilities are endless if you use it as your basic block for knits.

I’m obviously a big fan. My fourth version is already waiting for assembly 🤦‍♀️ Have you tried it yet?

Till the next time!

When you don’t have millions to spend on patterns…

Pattern: Off-shoulder romper

When you don’t have millions to spend on new patterns you certainly don’t need to stand on one leg and do pseudo-yoga poses whilst hoping that the Universe is going to drop some on your head for free…

What you may want to do is to familiarise yourself with Ellie and Mac patterns. Personally, I find them hit and miss aesthetically and you really need to look at the line drawings, but there are some fantastic classic and classy designs.

Pattern: True beauty

Having said that, all of them come with fantastic set of instructions, they are customisable (after all that’s why we sew) and some of them are absolute gems. The kicker is that, if you’re patient, you can get them for $1. Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. I wrote (and meant to) $1.

So what’s the catch?

There is none. Ellie and Mac run weekly sale they call Whacky Wednesday and each week they feature a different pattern. Majority of their offering is designed for stretch fabrics but there are some for woven too.

They do swimwear and cater for kids and men which led to this little twinning set:

Patterns: Chill tee
and
Around the block hoodie

Till the next time!

All the Lansdownes…

Caught the bug. Can’t stop now.

There’s no other way to put it but to own up to the fact that making my own lingerie has sucked me in. I love it. I love how it makes me think creatively and how amazing it makes me feel to have a nice new set to prance around in (obviously we’re talking at home in front of my husband at most but mostly with no witnesses)

After getting the right fit on the Black Beauty and whipping up a few versions I was ready for the next challenge and why not try to make the style I’d normally go for in the shops? So… when I saw the design lines of the Lansdowne bra by Orange Lingerie I was sold.

My first attempt was in this chocolate duoplex and, whilst I was pleased, my husband compared it to underwear his granny would wear. Which is not exactly what I’m going for.

Yet again, I paired it with Megan Nielsen’s acacia panties and I really like the fit and comfort of this set. I may just have to use it as a signalling set 😅

On my second go I decided to be a bit more adventurous and I amended the top cup pattern piece to achieve this ruched effect.

The process I used can be found in the Bare Essentials book and if you need further hand holding @emeralderin in her Instagram stories has a section where you can watch her do it.

Finally, I decided to further challenge myself and create a version with foam cup lining.

It was definitely a learning curve but I managed to do it and with a very neat finish inside and out.

I explain this process in my highlights so head over to my Instagram if you’d like to see more on altering the pattern.

All in all it’s been an inspiring pattern but, funnily enough, I actually prefer this style only with additional padding and the pattern comes without it. I think the soft cup versions are nice but just don’t give me the same effect. I may try to make another version or two in the future just to test the theory 😅

Till the next time!

Plum!

After my grey Camille jumpsuit making Sirocco by Deer and Doe was only a matter of time. There was such a hype about this pattern and I totally can see why. It’s equally suitable for a casual look and office or wedding guest attire.

Initially I wasn’t convinced that this plum gorgeousness had enough stretch but having worn it and washed it a few times I think the fabric choice was actually spot on. The recovery is really good and this means that the garment looks good all day.

On my second try I used the same black ponte that I also made my Bibi from (see my TATB Stretch post) and I decided to give it to charity in the end.

It was comfy and classic but bu the end of the day the waistline was edging closer to my hips and the legs were getting outstretched around the knees. I’m sure someone else will have a great use out of it but I knew that this would prevent me from wearing it and that’s just wasteful.

So… if you asked me, I’d recommend a more stable knit fabric. Ponte and scuba tend to be the safer option but do check the recovery. Last thing you want is a misshapen garment after you spent hours putting it together…

Till the next time!

TATB Stretch

Bibi in imitation leather

Have you ever heard the expression “push present”? Well.. I was very demanding when asked what I’d like after having our second child. I asked for Tilly’s book “Stretch”. It took me 18 months after our Matylda was born to actually give it a go.

I started from the Freya top and dress and made it into this wardrobe basic.

I really like the pattern. It comes together very easily (and I wouldn’t expect any less from Tilly), the fit is great, and style flattering and versatile… Are you waiting for a “but”?

My only complaint with this make was totally my own doing. I haven’t checked the fabric stretch % and getting my head through the neckline deserves it’s very own push present 🤪

The second pattern I used from this book was Bibi and, again, I loved how easy it was to put together and how simple and versatile the design is. And yet again I was let down by the fabric. This time though ponte I used was of very poor quality (despite being bought in a reputable shop and costing more than some other ponte I used in the past 🤷‍♀️)

I’m stubborn though so I tried it again. This time I used this imitation leather with lovely stretch and recovery and I think it’s a success.

I have a couple of Freya renditions planned for this winter because despite my hiccup I really like the pattern. I also have Stella set copied and ready to cut out so expect more “Stretch” makes from me in the near future!

Till the next time!

Mustard on bias

If there’s one thing that I know about myself it’s that I’m stubborn. Particularly when I have a new sewing idea. If I visualise a particular fabric for my project I’ll spend weeks looking for it until I find it and if shipping from land far far away has to happen, so be it.

This McCalls 7931 was always meant to be made in mustard yellow jacquard with animal print. I saw a similar thing on Christie Ressel and I loved all the styling options it offered. By sheer strike of luck I didn’t have to order this fabric from abroad. In fact, this is a designer deadstock that I snapped for cheap on eBay.

I obviously struggled with my face here. This would easily get me a role in the Mean Girls 🤦‍♀️

I was petrified that I’d ruin this lovely jacquard because I’ve never seen anything on bias prior to this skirt but I followed Mimi G’s advice to:

1) cut out flat with rotary cutter (my preferred method anyway

2) keep it pinned to the pattern pieces and handle as little as possible before sewing

3) stay stitch (Mimi actually recommends all around but I only went for that on waistline. Worked well but I will do as Mimi says in the future)

Another tricky part was sewing in the invisible zipper. I used my usual method of basting first with regular zipper foot but it was still the part where seam ripper was my best buddy. I’m glad I took the time though because a wavy zipper would really let this make down.

If you worry about hemming you can always use my little cheat tip:

Sew along the hem with longest stitch setting to help with ironing the hem. Then, fold and stitch as close to the fold as you dare (still on the longest stitch setting). Finally, trim the hem allowance close to your stitch line, fold, iron and stitch the hem using your regular stitch length. All left to do from here is removing the basting and you’ll have a neat narrow hem without fuss.

I wore this skirt to work on several occasions paired with black turtleneck and ankle boots and it’s a great addition to my professional wardrobe. Love this classic and flattering shape.

Till the next time!

Wishful thinking…

If only I could get one sewing wish to come true today it would be for Julia Dzwonczyk of Twoje Wykroje to finally release English version of her patterns. They are wonderfully designed, totally hackable (totally a word), and she supplies you with an array of hacks for each of her designs.

This skirt pattern features two side pockets that are sewn by folding over side panels.

This means that fabric usage is a little bit higher, but it’s unique and eye catching whilst being totally discreet at the same time.

The original pattern features elasticated waist, which normally doesn’t appeal to me, but I’m going to try it next time because all the versions I’ve seen are so flattering that I decided to give it a try someday.

For adding the button placket and the waistband I followed Julia’s instructions from the blog. Whilst that worked in terms of construction, I do think it came out a bit on the tight side (either that or Christmas turkey went straight to my midriff 🤭).

I am considering adding a little extension to the waistband, but that’s not exactly on top of my priority list right now so I may revisit the idea when I finally give up hope of loosing the remaining bits of pregnancy weight (although I’m not sure I can still call it that way because the baby is 18 months old already).

What would you do?

Till the next time!

Va va voom!

It’s been a while I know…

Last few weeks of the year are always such a blur. Work is busy, house is busy and I still try to do some sewing in between. Something had to give and that something was writing.

But fear not. I’ll be catching up with my makes over the next few weeks. For now… I’m back with a bling. That is a bang!

Meet my sparkly wiggle dress by patterns for pirates!

She’s made of this stretch sequin fabric I found on eBay:

I did a bit of research before making it and decided to use lining because the sequin mesh was actually quite see through and because nobody wants scratchy seams.

I essentially just cut out two dresses. One in main fabric and one, slightly shorter, in lining. I then assembled it as per instructions to the point where you have hemming and neckline to finish. (Elastic was in but not turned in and topstitched). I then stitched lining to the dress at the neck, sleeves and around the zip, understitched at the neck and sleeve and then hemmed with bias binding.

The instructions don’t include lining so I played it by the ear and I am rather pleased with the result. My only complaint about this absolutely amazing pattern is the lack of truing up at the skirt which results in pointed hem at the seams but otherwise… love it! The variations you get with this pattern make it so incredibly versatile that I can see many iterations of this in my sewing future.

Till the next time!

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