Tuesday, 14 February 2017

A comfy underwear set

A month or so ago, I kept seeing a new free soft bra pattern being posted in numerous Facebook sewing groups, so when I happened to pick up some 95%cotton 5% elastane jersey knit fabric from Big W on clearance for $5, I thought it was about time I gave it a go. The free pattern is the "Lovesick Bra" from George and Ginger, and can be found on their site, with the rest of their free patterns.  If you like a boyleg undie, George and Ginger also have a free pattern for those, as part of the "I heart you" set.

To make my matching undies, I chose to use the bikini bottom pattern from Golden Rippy's Mykonos collection, but adding about 1 inch in height to make it slightly high waisted (better for holding the jibbly bits in) There are also tons of free underwear patterns online you could use for your own version, I just chose this one as I had made them previously and liked the fit.

I chose to cut out the size 20 DD cup and back pieces, with the size 18 band and straps, working from the pattern's measurement chart, as well as the XXL in the bikini bottoms, with an extra inch height at the top. After cutting all my required pieces out, I had only used a bit more than half, so I should be able to get another pair of undies out of it, or another set, in a smaller size for someone else. If your measurements are smaller than mine, you may be able to squeeze out 2 sets for yourself out of 1 meter.

I didn't take any progress shots at all, as both items were quite straight forward. I did add a piece of 1" wide elastic to the bra band, but other than that made it straight from the pattern. Unfortunately, the bra has ended up a bit big, and lacking in any support. This seems to be a fairly common complaint I have seen from larger ladies who have used this pattern, so if you plan on using it yourself, I would highly recommend measuring the pattern pieces and sizing down. I did realise mine was looking a little too big after I sewed the darts in the front cup pieces, but decided to forge ahead and finish it anyway.

I figure I can now wear these as pajamas, especially on hot evenings, like some of the scorchers we have been having recently.

Other than the sizing issue, I have also found that I do not like the placement of the darts closest to the center front, as they seem to poke out at an odd place. Perhaps this is due to the bra being to big and not supportive enough, or maybe just due to my naturally wide set breasts (just like Marilyn Monroe had) I shall have to make a smaller version to test see, and perhaps move their placement.

I may or may not add a modeled photo at a later date, but for now, I cannot be bothered.

Anyone else tried the Lovesick Bra? how did it work for you?


P.S. Happy Valentines day my Dear Readers!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

My first attempt at a Waist Training Corset

I have been interested in waist training for a few year now, but haven't begun for a few reasons. Mostly because of the cost of the corsets, but also because of the amount of times I was pregnant last year. My husband and I are still trying for a baby this year, but I've decided not to put things off because of it. Don't worry though, I will only be wearing a corset at times when I definitely know I'm not pregnant.

I had a good look online at a few corset brands, as well as Lucy's corset calculator, but none had a corset curvy enough and short enough for my body, Mystic City Corsets had a few that were close, but not quite small enough in the waist, or big enough in the hips, or short enough. So naturally I thought I would have a go at sewing one myself. As far as I could find, there doesn't seem to be any corset sewing patterns that match my measurements either, so I got out a pencil, paper and ruler, and got to work drafting my own.

First draft corset pattern

I aimed for a fairly short waspie style with only about 6" reduction in the waist, and I mostly kept the front pieces flat, putting the curves at the side and back where I need them. I added 1/2" seam allowances on each side, then once I was happy with the pattern, I grabbed some fabric scraps and cut the pieces out.

Clipping the curves while watching "Call the Midwife"

For this test version, I just sewed up the front instead of inserting a busk (as I don't have any on hand) each seam was sewn up, clipped and pressed open, then the two layers are put wrong sides together, matching up all the seams. I then simple sewed a line of stitching down either side of the seams to create the boning channels, adding an extra boning channel either side of the front seam for extra rigidity there.

Sewing boning channels between the 2 layers

Boning inserted, ready to insert the eyelets

Once I had the eyelets in, I laced it up with some red and black satin ribbing I happened to have on hand and tried it on. Unfortunately, it looked like I had added too much room in the hip spring, probably because the corset is so short, it doesn't hit the part of my upper hips that I measured. I fixed this easily with 4 small darts in some of the side and back panels.

Testing the fit, over my pajamas
Once I had sewn in the darts and pressed them, I bound the top and bottom edges with a soft pink binding from my stash, the tried on the completed corset over a stretchy dress.

Finished, trying on to test fit

While I am happy with the fit of this corset as a first draft, there are lots of areas I want to change/improve for the next one. For starters, I think I will raise the top edge at the back in an attempt to minimise back fat and stabilise the top edge somewhat. I also really wanted a more dramatic hourglass shape initially, so I will also be changing the shape of the waistline, and possibly bring it in slightly smaller, as well as bringing in the bottom edge slightly so I don't need to add darts.

As with many plus size gals, my hips tend to spread out a bit when I sit down, so a fellow corset maker and wearer suggested I try using power mesh in small triangular gores on the bottom, to allow for extra room when seated. In order to make a corset that will be comfortable to wear sitting down, while sewing or perhaps doing Uni work, I will probably use this idea. Naturally I will also be buying a proper steel buck and spiral steel boning.

When I do fix up my pattern, I am thinking I will scan it in and upload it as a new free pattern for my readers. Admittedly it will only suit people with similar measurements to myself, but I am sure there are plenty of curvy short gals out there who will appreciate it.


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

A Beautiful (but hot) Summer Wedding

So, a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend the wedding of my little brother, and his lovely bride. Although I was not part of the wedding party, I invited myself along to get ready with the bride and her bridesmaids, in order to help them with any errands and running around that they might need. One of the things I was able to do, was to take a few photos of her and her girls getting ready using her Canon 1100 (which is what inspired me to buy my own DSLR) As I am not very camera savvy, I couldn't locate the the auto-focus setting, so I had to manually focus these photos, and I am pretty proud of how they turned out. I did take more photos than these, but I am only sharing the ones that have already been shared on social media

The rest of these photos were taken by a professional (who also help me locate the auto focus on the camera I was using)

All the girls!

I, of course, wore my Navy cotton voile dress that I made last year, specifically for this event, and while it was a very hot day, I would have been much worse off if I hadn't worn such a breathable fabric, and I loved wearing such a bright coloured dress in a sea of mostly dark colours.

The Ceremony

My husband was a groomsmen (the tall one)

yeh...... I don't know.....

Little bro, Dad and Big bro


Dad and the Bride

We scrub up alright....even in 37 degree heat

Both sides of the Family!

Mum and the happy couple

Reapplying the Bride's lipstick

And later at the reception.....

All in all, it was a wonderful day, and the Bride looked beautiful, and most importantly, I now have a SISTER!!!


Monday, 30 January 2017

A New Camera Bag for a New Camera!

After recently using my now sister-in-law's DSLR at her wedding about 2 weeks ago, I thought it really was about time I got myself a better camera for my blog, as my phone camera just doesn't quite cut it. Luckily, my dad gave my husband and I a $500 gift voucher for Christmas, so it seemed like the perfect thing to buy with it, as it is something we will both use.

While my sister-in-law has a Canon 1100, we decided to go for the entry level Nikon 3400, as it was slightly more affordable, and had much better specifications than the current entry level Canon. I know there are plenty of people who are very adamant about which brand is better, but for now, the Nikon is more in our price range, meaning we will be able to afford extra lenses and accessories at a later date.

My husband had a go taking a few shots as soon as we got home and charged the battery, and we are both petty impressed with it. Plus the Bluetooth capabilities means it is super easy for me to send a photo to my phone to upload to instagram. The below photo was taken while I was crocheting quite quickly, and I love how clear it is. Definitely not something a phone camera can achieve! We are also looking at taking a class with Wild Learning, to learn to use more of the manual settings on our camera.

When we purchased our camera, the only bag options were ugly backpack styles, or a Canon branded bag. So naturally I decided to make a bag to better suit our needs. Luckily I have quite a few pieces of leather, one of which was quite large, and far too shiny to use for historical re-enactment purposes, so was perfect for this project.

I started by making the padded insert, using some firm foam pieces, wadding and cotton fabric. I just measured roughly what size I needed (by measuring my camera and lens) then sewing sections of fabric and inserting the foam and wadding inside and hand stitching the pieces together. Once I had made the padded insert section, I measured it and made a simple leather bag to fit it into. I did sew a long shoulder strap for the bag, but the leather was so stiff, it kinda looked odd, so I didn't end up attaching it. The bag isn't perfect, but for a $2 piece of leather, a 50c zip from an op shop and fabric, foam and wadding scraps, it's pretty awesome.

The main thing is that it does it's job, which is to protect and carry my camera and accessories. Plus the cute kitty print fabric inside make me happy, and has space for other bits and pieces like the manual and extra SD cards.

Here's another shot of the progress of my crocheted blanket from earlier. I'm following a pattern that was made to recreate one from the "Call the Midwife" TV show, from the 2012 Christmas Special to be exact. It's super easy and very sweet, I want to make one in every colour! It's about half way done so far.

So that's a little of what I've been doing lately.
Does anyone else use a Nikon Camera?


Saturday, 31 December 2016

Christmas away and a look back on my 2016

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and apologies for neglecting all my readers for the past few weeks.

As I have mentioned before, I don't like to announce to the world before I go away on Holidays, and a few days ago I returned home from a 10 day South Pacific Cruise on Carnival Legend.

Mum, just before we boarded

Overall the Decor on the Legend is rather Garish, but I found the food and some of the entertainment to be superior to P & O ships. Of course, the ship was decked out in Christmas Decorations too, and a few people even decorated their own cabin doors.

There was even this display of "Gingerbread" Houses made by the kitchen staff. They seem to be made out of whatever they could find in the kitchen, including things like crushed eggshells and nutrigrain.

Most days we would come back to our room to find cute towel animals on our bed. My favourite was the turtle.

This trip's visit to Mystery Island did not feature the beautiful clear water that I experienced back in May, due to recent storms and/or tides, so we did not get to see any fish while out swimming, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. We also enjoyed a Beer on the beach.

Mystery Island

Beer on the Beach on Mystery Island

This time my time spent on Lifou was spent snorkeling, instead of walking up to the chapel on the hill. I have never been able to snorkel successfully before, as swimming over corals, or going out past where I can touch the ground terrifies me. However, having my husband with me helped tremendously and I was able to swim around and see many different types of fish and coral, for about 2 hours. Unfortunately, my mother has been using spray sunscreen lately and loving it. But even 2 brand new cans of SPF 50 Banana boat sunscreen were not enough to protect my skin, and so my husband and I spent the rest of the cruise with quite severe sunburns. His mostly on his shoulders, and mine, well.... I'm not sure I've ever been sunburnt on the back of my thighs before....... It made sitting down for the next few days very difficult and painful.

Tender to Lifou

Approaching Lifou in the tender

Mare was the only port this cruise which I had not been to before. The side of the Island where the ship comes into was fairly underwhelming, but had a nice welcoming display by the locals as well as a few market stalls, where we bought my Husband a wooden carved Tiki head for Christmas, which he loved.

Island Welcome at Mare

However, when you pay the $19.99 (bit of a rip off) for the bus transfer to the other side of the island, you are greeted with the beautiful Yejele Beach. Lovely white sand and lots of sections of coral populated by a kaleidoscope of sea creatures, all protected by a barrier reef, made this a perfect beach for snorkeling, beach frolicking or just relaxing on the sand. Along the road are huts selling different food and drink items, and reminded me quite a bit of the Isle of Pines.

Yejele Beach on Mare

This time around I made sure I lathered on thick cream SPF 50 sunscreen. I really don't mind the greasy, heavy feel that some people complain about with some sunscreens, as I find those are the ones that work best. Just because sunscreens have the same SPF rating, does not mean they offer equal protection.

Mum and I on Yejele Beach, Mare 

Mum and I participated in a couple of Trivia sessions hosted on the ship, and we completely smashed the Country Music Trivia on Christmas Eve, beating out the second team by about 6 or 7 points (most of the trivia rounds were much closer) We won a bottle of French Sparkling wine for our efforts.

Cocktails during Trivia on Christmas Eve Morning

Then we treated ourselves to Sushi for Christmas Eve dinner. My husband and I shared the "Sushi Ship" which cost $22, and mum had 2 rolls (a California and a chicken Tempura at my recommendation) Mum said before this, that she didn't like sushi, but this place changed her mind.

Sushi Dinner for Christmas Eve

For Christmas Day, My husband and I wore our matching Christmas outfits, and I think he got more compliments from people than I did. I guess it's just a lot more unusual to see a man is custom made novelty print clothes.

We spent part of the day drinking cocktails up on the open deck, teaching Fransisco how to make origami cranes, as well as making other origami things.

Teaching Fransisco to make Origami Cranes

Fransisco's favourite thing to make was those scrunched pieces you can see on the bottom left side, which he called wombats........ Digested wombats.

Completed crane!

Christmas Day Origami!

Boxing day, the last full sea day of our cruise, Mum and I decided to go in search of the "Fishbowl" cocktail we had heard of. You can get a range of cocktails in the fishbowls, and we opted for the Caribbean Ice Tea (both being fans of Long Island Iced Teas) and then we had another during the last comedy show.

Boxing day Fish bowl Cocktails

Caribbean Iced Tea Fish bowl

All in all, it was a bit sad to depart the ship and head home to the real world where you have to cook your own meals and wash your own towels, but I was looking forward to seeing my kitties and sleeping in my own bed.

Although I have done quite a lot of interesting things this year, it has actually been a very hard year for me. Although I haven't mentioned this before on my blog, but I have actually suffered 4 miscarriages throughout this year, the most recent one happened while I was away on this cruise, which is why I didn't drink for the first half of the cruise. They have all been very early, most around 5-6 weeks, the most recent reached 8 weeks. I will be seeing a specialist in the new year to hopefully find out why this has been happening and correct it.

As such, I am very much looking forward to the New Year. Although my job as a Travel agent finished up in November, this led me to applying to University, which I will be starting in February, which I am really looking forward to. So 2016 can go die in a hole, bring on 2017!