S.U.A.T. Brazi/Calista Mash-Up

Mash it, and hack it, and make that dress your own!

I love the Stitch Upon A Time Brazi pattern.  I was so intimidated to try making my own bra that I eyed it for a month before I finally bought the pattern!  Since then I’ve made several workout bras for myself, a nursing bra for my daughter and a Brazi dress that I wear all the time.  I’ve hacked it for straight straps and removable bra cups and decided, why not mash it with the S.U.A.T. Calista?  Once you feel comfortable with a pattern and know the best fabrics to make it with, it is easy to branch out and try something new with it.

Brazi patternPlease note that out of respect for the designers, and protection of their intellectual property, I will not show full pattern pieces.  I bought the cross-front add-on when I bought the Brazi pattern because I love the look and knew that it would be the most flattering for my body type.  But you can do the straight strap hack on the original pattern.  I simply marked my pattern where it curves from cup to strap, and folded it under 1/2″ above that.  I folded the back straps under and cut out my modified pattern pieces.  I cut four 2″x13″ rectangles out of my fabric as my strap and strap lining pieces.
Choosing the perfect fabric is always the fun part of sewing.  And using high quality fabric is key when making a supportive and functional bra.  I love using Phee Fabrics circular knit, nylon/spandex, and rayon/spandex for my Brazi’s.  But the not-so-secret part to trim powernetbeing successful at supporting “the girls” is powernet.  And I’m not talking the decorative looking mesh stuff I’ve seen at a national fabric and crafts store.  Phee Fabrics powernet is legit!  It holds everything where it belongs.

I cut out my pattern pieces using the same fabric for the main and lining pieces and also cut all my pieces out of powernet. I trim the powernet 1/8″ to 1/4″ smaller on all sides except the side seams.  

pin powernetpowernet bastedPin the trimmed powernet pieces to your lining pieces and baste in place.  Do not baste along the side seams!  To make the pocket for your bra cups, lay your cups on top of the bra front and mark the height.  Sewing a horizontal line across the height mark will keep your cups from shifting out of place.

cross-frontSew your main and lining front pieces right side together.  The pattern tutorial recommends using elastic along the front edge of the cups.  Using the elastic adds another layer of security if you are concerned about anything showing when you lean forward.

back opening

I marked and pinned my back pieces together and left the center 4″ open when I sewed the top seam so that I would have room to insert the straps later.

 

 

sewing sideseamside seam sewn pinned

Open up your front main and lining piece and match it up with your back main and lining.  Here’s the tricky part: sew the outer main fabric together, sewing down about an inch into the lining and then sew the bottom inch together.  Pull the lining fabric of the bra front out of the seam line and tuck it out of the way as you pin the powernet and back lining pieces together.  You may need to use your finger to hold the fabric out of the way as you sew the other 3 layers together.  This will give you the opening on the inside of the side seam for you to insert and remove a bra cup.

bra cup accessRepeat the process with the other side seam.  At this point you can follow the pattern directions about matching your center front notches, adjusting strap length, sewing on your bra band or skirt and adding the elastic.

hem dipSince I was adding the Calista skirt to the Brazi top, and the bottom of the two bras are different shapes, I knew that I might need to make some adjustments.  You might like the look of the dipped hem my mash produced, but I am kind of old school, and like my hems to be level with the floor.  I had an easy fix for my problem.

alter hemtrimmed hem

I laid the skirt pattern on the skirt, pivoted it up from the center front fold to 2″ above the side seams. I flipped the pattern over and repeated the process on the skirt back.  I hemmed the skirt and my Brazi/Calista mash-up was complete!

In hindsight, I should have just traced the top curve of the Brazi skirt instead of following the straight edge of the Calista skirt.  But since the skirt was already sewn on, and I didn’t feel like seam ripping, cutting the bottom worked.  I’ll definitely use the Brazi skirt curve in my future makes!

Although I can add bra cups if I want, I wore my new dress all day and took these photos without using any cups.  THAT is how well quality powernet works!  So hack and mash and sew away!  And enjoy wearing your comfortable, personalized creation.

Brazi Calista backBrazi Calista1

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!

 

 

 

Sewing for Men

Man Up!

Do you sew for the men in your life?  I used to sew cute shirts, shorts, and pants for my son when he was little, but haven’t made him a thing in over 25 years.  I made my husband a bathrobe a good 15 years ago, but that’s it.  I sew for myself and my baby granddaughter all the time, and have made quite a few things for my daughter.  But the men in my life seem to get left out, until now.

I decided it was time to let them be the beneficiaries of my makes.  Since my husband now funds my fabric and pattern budget 🙂 and tolerates all the time I spend sewing, he deserves something nice.  My son was kind enough to help me finish setting up my website (as I am definitely not a technogeek) and deserved a reward for his help and patience.

So I decided to make my husband and son Sinclair Patterns Men’s Kai Tee Shirts out of Phee Fabrics rayon spandex.  Wow!  Normally I am not a fan of rayon spandex.  It’s not that I don’t love the softness of rayon spandex, but generally speaking it is not a fun fabric to work with.  It’s thin and flimsy.  It gets all wrinkly.  It stretches and gets bagged out of shape.  It’s slippery and a pain to sew.

Since I really like Phee Fabrics and have always been impressed with their quality, I decided to give their rayon spandex a try.  Wow!  It is so much nicer than your typical rayon spandex.  It’s way more substantial (13 oz.), has beautiful recovery, doesn’t come out of the dryer as a wrinkly mess, and even makes great bands on your tees.  I am using their rayon spandex for all kinds of makes now!

My next question was what pattern to use?  Some of my favorite “go-to” pdf pattern companies have shirt patterns, but most of them seem to be raglan sleeve styles.  Also, my son is tall, and my husband is not.  It’s not that I’m not used to having to lengthen patterns, since I am tall, but really, who wants to use their precious sewing time having to adjust their pattern?  Enter Sinclair Patterns.  Their patterns come with height options!  Regular, Tall and Short.  How amazing is that?  So I bought, downloaded and printed off the Men’s Kai in Tall and Regular.  Traced off my husband and son’s sizes and got to sewing.

J KaiD Kai

The shirts came together quickly and easily, and the neckband lengths in the pattern were perfect.  I don’t know about you, but I always wait until I have my shoulder seams sewn together to cut my neckbands.  I measure the opening and calculate the appropriate length, and frequently have to make longer bands than a pattern suggests.  It drives me crazy, but I have been burned too many times by a tight, gathered looking neckband to trust most patterns.  The Kai pattern neckband was perfect on both sizes.  It makes me confident that I will have the same success with their other patterns.

Kai biceps Kai side

 

All that was left to do was photograph my makes.  Getting my guys to agree to be photographed took a minute, but they had fun at my quick photo session.  And I snuck into a selfie, since who wouldn’t want to be photographed with these two cuties?  So give new patterns and fabrics a try, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!  Happy sewing!

Kai group

Sew What’s in a Name?

Name That Cardigan

I mentioned in a previous post that I wasn’t chosen to be a pattern tester for 5 out of 4’s new cardigan pattern.  But guess what?  I got to name the pattern!  How cool is that?  They had a cardigan naming contest in their Facebook group, so I entered it.  You never expect to actually win a contest, because face it, hundreds or thousands of other people have entered the contest too.

But lo and behold, the name I submitted was picked!  I suggested The Eleanor Cardigan because cardigans are comfy and cozy, and doesn’t Eleanor make you think of a sweet Grandma or Auntie giving you a big hug?  Alas, my Grandma’s are no longer around, and neither my Mom or any of my Aunties live nearby.  But I can still cuddle up in a comfortable cardigan!  (And I can always get a hug from my sweet husband!)

So be sure to check out The Eleanor Cardigan  (women and girls versions) from 5 out of 4 Patterns https://5outof4.com/ on October 2, 2018 when it releases!

Beauty and Wonder

Look for the light

Sunset walks on the beach are my favorite.  Although people frequently come out to enjoy the show, we sometimes find ourselves on a nearly deserted beach.  As I walk I often contemplate the beauty and wonder around me.  It’s hard not to with this scenery, right?  God gives us sunsets, day after day.  Do we always take the time to look at the sky and appreciate them?  Of course not.  Life is busy, it’s not always convenient, it might be raining, the sky is overcast and you can’t see the sun, the list goes on.

But the sunset is constant, it happens every day.  It is like God’s love for us.  It’s there, it’s constant, but sometimes we just don’t see it.  We get busy, we don’t take the time, the clouds of grief or anger seem to hide it, or we let a bad experience or another persons point of view keep us from looking.

crane 9-24-18

Sometimes we might feel like we’re standing alone in the world, in society.  And that’s okay, because in reality, we’re not.  There are others like us, people of faith, who believe in God’s goodness and love.  We may not be the loudest voices in the chatter of the daily stream of information flooding the airwaves, but we stand strong in our faith.

double rainbow 9-21-18

God gives us constant reminders that He is there.  Looking up at the sky after a rain, with thunder still grumbling in the background, Dan and I saw a beautiful double rainbow.  It’s a reminder that although we might be showered with problems, and the voices of discontent are grumbling in the periphery of our lives, there is pure shining light in the world.

Am I looking at the thunderclouds and worrying about the storm, or am I looking toward the light and appreciating the beauty and wonder?

 

Morning Light

Appreciating the Sunrise

I have always been a morning person.  The peace and quiet, watching darkness transform into light speaks to me.  I remember taking family vacations that were a 24 hour drive from home.  Everyone else in the vehicle would be sleeping, and I’d be the “co-pilot” sitting up in the passenger seat next to my Dad who was driving.  Sometimes the radio would be playing softly in the background.  Sometimes we would chat quietly, or just enjoy the rhythm of road noise as we drove along.  It was a quiet, peaceful, wonderful start to the day.

My favorite morning spot is sitting on the chaise in the sunroom, looking out through the East facing windows.  It’s the perfect spot to linger over coffee, think, check emails and Facebook, and watch God bring light to the world again and again.  I love watching the sky turn from black to midnight blue, to pretty pinks, purples and corals, and then into a sunny blue.

For years I have gotten up at 5am to be able to enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee before getting ready for work and the (at least) hour long drive it took to get there.  Even 15 minutes of quietly waking and taking time to savor and enjoy a cup of coffee can set you up for a less stressful day.  I know that some people like setting their alarm to wake them up at the last possible minute to get up and ready for work, (then hitting the snooze button once or twice!)  That just leads to feeling cranky and stressed, and rushing to not be late, and who needs that added pressure in their life?

If that rushed, stressed out person sounds like you, just give yourself that sunrise wake-up treat for a few days and see what you think.  Slow deep breathing, quiet peaceful moments, and the beauty that is sunrise can improve your outlook on life and mornings!

 

Yoga and Laughter

Settling in and finding a new yoga home

I have practiced yoga for over 15 years, so it has become a part of my life.  Dan and I joined an athletic club at the end of 2002/ beginning of 2003 and enjoyed working out there.  One of the first classes I tried was a yoga class, and I was hooked.  Yoga became my motivation to go to the gym.  I found that driving straight to the gym after work was the best way to be consistent and attend class regularly.  I got into the habit of going to the gym Monday through Thursday, with yoga 3 nights a week and 1 evening of cardio.

I had the opportunity to learn from some great teachers and truly grow in my practice.  I was always sad when one of my favorite instructors left the gym.  Some moved on to teach at gyms closer to their home, and some moved on to start their own yoga studios.  It was a challenge to adjust to a new instructor- everyone has their own style, and they don’t know the skill levels of the students yet to adjust their teaching style.  Of course stepping into the place of a beloved teacher has to feel challenging to the instructor as well!  Sometimes it took a few weeks to get into the groove of an instructors style, sometimes they were just “meh”, and attendance was merely routine because of the class time availability.  Other (most) instructors grew to become my favorite instructors when they settled into a familiar groove, and they challenged everyone to grow in their practice.  And of course part of yoga is being able to ignore the irritations in life and breathe through it!

When we made the move from Michigan to Florida it took a while before we found a gym that offered a lot of yoga classes.  I have to note here, that yoga in Florida doesn’t seem to be at the same level as it is in Michigan.  I was used to more challenging, “hard-core” classes, and really feeling the Zen by the end of class.  This was not the norm I found.  There were a few good instructors at the new gym, but one young lady kind of stood out.  Yesenia was newly certified, having taken her teacher training in India only months before.  But Yesenia had the Zen.  It oozed off her and filled the room, and her joy and enjoyment of yoga bubbled out of her.  When the gym cut out most of their yoga classes to focus in a different direction, I followed Yesenia and another instructor to a new yoga studio.

I loved the new yoga studio.  It was a sunny, happy place.  Being young, Yesenia occasionally showed up late to the 6:30 am sunrise yoga class.  But she had the good grace to apologize, and continued to grow her skill and teaching confidence level.  I am sure she will become a great yoga teacher, I could see it in her, and encouraged her as much as I could.  Our original move to Florida was a temporary place to stay while we looked for a “forever home”.  When we found said home and moved away from that city, leaving that yoga studio and Yesenia’s fun personality was the hardest part.

After settling into our new home, it was time to find a new yoga studio.  Dan noticed a yoga studio near the barbershop he found and stopped in to check it out.  He brought me a brochure with their class schedule and said it seemed like the kind of place I would like.  I went to check it out and decided it was a great choice.  The clientele at the studio is mostly women of my age, which could be because I attend classes in the morning, or because the average age of people in this area is our age! 🙂

There is a group of “regulars” and it’s nice to recognize familiar faces and feel welcomed by the friendly instructors.  Being women “of a certain age” there is a comradery as we chat and discuss common concerns after class sometimes.   This is such a welcome feeling when you are a bit shy, and somewhat new to a community.  I think that’s one of the things I like most about the yoga community.  It’s easy to feel welcome and comfortable in your own skin.  I have always tried to make new people feel welcome and encourage them to keep coming back to class.  Yoga has helped me find balance in life, in more ways than one.  And I want to share my love of yoga with others.

That photo above?  That’s me and one of my yoga instructors, Tina, playing around after class so that I could have a fun photo.  Anything that brings balance and laughter into your life is a good thing in my book!

PS- If you follow my page for sewing, I will note that the workout top and capris I’m wearing are me-made.  I also made matching capris for my daughter and granddaughter.

matching pegs

Namaste!

Flutter Sleeve Hack

I wrote a guest blog on the Phee Fabrics Phee Blog, so I thought I would share it here.  Have you ever tried taking a photo at the beach on a windy day?  Let me tell you, it leads to laughter and crazy photos as you can see above!  I hacked the Made for Mermaids Women’s Mya Top, Tunic and Dress Pattern to have flutter sleeves.

via Flutter Sleeve Hack