flower Blog

Sewing for Yourself
The effort is worth the rewards.

November 10, 2019

For years I have strived to sew and create my own clothing. I am sure you are wondering why? Maybe you already know, especially if you have learned to sew. I have a short waist, long legs, a small bust and long arms. These problems have only been recently dealt with by the industry so today, I can buy clothing that fits my unique and imperfect shape. And I do.

But more than just wanting well fitting clothing, I want a say in the design process. I want to understand both the design and the sewing process, to know how things are made.

I have always wanted to design and create my own unique wardrobe. Cothing is a great form of self expression and can often effect the way we feel about ourselves. Often my efforts meant I sometimes, wore the wierd and unpractical.

Many of the patterns I loved, created a look I thought would work, but in the end the garment while sewn perfectly, lacked that wow factor when worn. It fell short of my overall expectations. But why did the pattern cover make it look so great and stylish? I sewed many such busts.

And after sewing for years, I became very discouraged and stopped sewing clothing, specifically for myself. Let me interject a little history about me. I wore uniforms from 1st grade into junior high school. I had virtually no understanding of style or design. Let alone fit or flattery. Early in my nursing career we wore the iconic white uniform. I was always on a strict budget and they were costly. When nurses started wearing scrubs, they were easy and ecconmical to sew. I had a closet full.

Sewing for yourself Sewing for yourself Sewing for yourself

These photos show my wardrobe expanding as I my skills and confidence grow.

The image on the left is a copy of a style I found on "Soft Surroundings.Com". I used a combo draping and flat pattern drafting to create the sheer cowl overlay.  The tank is a simple flat pattern from my collection.  The sheer fabric was dyed to match. 

The middle image is a recreation of a simple turtleneck with a zipper inserted into the neck opening. It is a culmination of other patterns and sized to fit close with just a minimal bit of ease.

On the right is my new cargo pants. It took me a lot of patternwork and fitting to even get to the point where I could cut the style from the original pattern found on "Silhouette Patterns.com." Peggy Sager's has a great video lesson, in real time, on how to sew these pants.

These garmets are simple, or appear very simple, everyday clothing that you find in ready to wear. After years of wanting to sew and find unique clothing, now, I like to sew what I can buy.

Why go to all that work you ask? There are many reasons to sew. I have sewn wonderful drapery, pillows, fun decor, and original costumes. Sewing is more than putting fabric together and stitching. 

Having a wardrobe that fits and is stylish is rewarding. Going to your closet and finding so many items to wear makes dressing fun and exciting. 

Learning sewing techniques and pattern direction procedures is a huge part of the process. There are infinate books, internet opportunities, and sewing classes offered by local fabric stores.  I don't start at the beginning of any process.  Learning to sew can happen at any level you choose. 

Let me say that again. I don't start at the beginning of any process. Learning can begin at any level.  A great starting place is a project that appears fairly simple with easy and clean sewing lines.  A clear pattern to follow that will guide one through the entire process.

Any project can have issues. Even basic simple garments. Which is why I like to delve deeper into what appears difficult. Often things that look hard are a lot more simple than expected.

 My version of the

My version of the"Soft Surroundings" Valarie Pullover Tunic with a cowl Neck

Bra Back Closure Options:

January 3, 2019

Bra making supplies are offered on line and are also finding there way into our local fabric stores. I have used all forms including, bra closures from old or even new ready-made purchased bras. Loop tape to purchased individually sold closure sets are widely available.

For bra makers purchasing a full bra kit usually includes the closure cut and correctly sized. But you can't count on that happening with every kit.

Closure width is determined by the depth of the bra back band. And the support the band will need. Typically the closure must reflect the bra size. Although, this is a rule you don't have to always follow.

The process of sewing your own bras creates the option to determine how wide the closure will be on your body and allowing one to determine how tight the bra needs to be. As a life-long seamstress always searching for products to create my perfect garment, availability is the key.

Creating a perfect fitting streamline back bra closure is essential in the strength and durability of a finished bra.

Bra closure sewn by student image

Shown above: The perfect back closure for this size of band.

The bra in this photo was sewn by a student with a smaller than average frame. In this first class she was able to create a beautiful bra back.

bra closure insertion image

A close up shot of the closure shows the edges finished with a small zigzag stitch.

This closure has two rows of hooks and loops. It can be extended to three or even four.

Bra Maker's Supply carries the options for individual back closures. They provide an array of color choices that will match their other bra making products, fabrics, and laces.

They are designed to be used in a single bra which makes them a great option when putting together your own bra kits.

Bra back closures are also available in yardage which enables one to cut it to the size desired and to dye it the specific color needed. Sew Sassy offers this product by the yard with different hook spacing.

Fabric Depot is another great online bra supplier. I have purchased from all three of these stores. They all offer great products and many options for bra making variety.

I have to mention here that fabric stores also sell a bra extender which can give your bra an increase of at least 2 but possibly 3 sizes. It has a combination of both hooks and loops sewn on. You attach it to the bra closure to provide the extention. Changing a bra closure is actually easier than one might think on a purchased bra that is either too big or too small. It can even be done by hand with a needle and thread.

Listed here are some tips for sewing a bra closure.

  • The narrow band of hooks is sewn to the right side of the back band.
  • The wider row or rows of loops is sewn to the left side of the back band.
  • Measure the back band to ensure that it will fit your desired closure and adjust before you secure the elastic on the band.

A well secured proper back closure will increase comfort and bra wearing longevity. Various options of bra closures are shown in the photo below and are numbered.

bra closure insertion image

Various options for types of available bra back closures.

1. Yardage of double row hook and loops.
2. A single cut hook and loop closure.
3. A double cut hook and loop closure.
4. A bra closure expander with hooks that will lengthen and enlarge a bra band.
5. A double hook and loop closure dyed red with edges finished, is purchased separately.
6. Yardage of three row hook and loops.

To summerize, don't be afraid to repair your worn bra, or to extend the length of a bra. And consider sewing your own bras.