For years (years!) I’ve been looking for loungewear that is cute, feminine, comfortable, and supportive.
That last one is really the sticking point. There are tons of cute vintagey-looking slips and rompers out there, but it’s not easy to find one that will support a larger bosom. For most, I’d need to wear a bra with them, which has a tendency to spoil the effect.
First, this pattern is not for the faint of heart. You have the usual extra steps with European patterns, namely that you have to trace and add seam allowances. Not a huge deal, especially because there aren’t many pieces here. But the instructions are minimal, and that’s putting it mildly. There are no illustrations (other than the technical drawing), and the translation from Dutch reads… well, like a translation from Dutch. At least one or two steps seemed to be from another pattern. I scratched my head reading them and then just followed the general steps and used what I’d learned from bra-making, which worked pretty well.
For the main fabric, I used a pale blue silk jersey from my stash (so luxurious!), coral stretch lace, coral ribbon for the teeny bows, ivory bra strap elastic, and ivory picot elastic. The cups are lined with leftover duoplex from my pink bra. Oh, and by the way, if the fit looks off in the cups above, as I mentioned before the dress form is smaller in the cups than I am.
I tried to use what I had as much as I could for this, since it’s nigh impossible to make a muslin when there’s hardware and elastic involved. And I’ll definitely make this again, now that I’ve learned a thing or two from it.
That brings me to something I was thinking about while sewing this.
As I sat unpicking a seam I’d sewn a little wonky, I thought about how frustrating it can be when you make a mistake in sewing, or even when an entire garment goes completely wrong. You’ve spent hours on it, and maybe it just didn’t turn out the way you wanted, or perhaps there are just a few little details that you KNOW you could have done better.
But isn’t this how we become better at things? Why do we spend so much time hating and fretting over our mistakes, when it’s learning from our mistakes (or failures, even) that leads to building new skills? If you did everything perfectly, you wouldn’t learn anything new.
That led me to think that it would be a really good practice to document “lessons learned” from sewing projects. I mean, I ALWAYS learn something new, and writing it down could definitely help me to remember what it is. It might be a lesson from a mistake, or it could be something I did right or tried for the first time. So, in that spirit, I’m going to start including them when I write about my projects.
- An easy way to add seam allowances: After tracing my pattern, I tried this method using the sewing machine from Pam at Off The Cuff Style. It was so fast and easy, highly recommended!
- Reverse engineering is awesome: The pattern for this slip instructed me to sew the picot elastic along the top of the lace scallops. I knew that would show through and look wonky, so I just copied what I see in many of my RTW bras and bought some narrow, clear elastic to sew behind the lace. Problem solved.
- Support comes from the band: I already knew this in theory, but this really demonstrates it. The cups themselves are well fitting and supportive, but this bra-slip is nowhere near as supportive as a bra, because there’s no band underneath. That’s fine for me, but now I know what to expect.
- Support also comes from the bridge: Ok, this is something I’ll improve on my next version. The cups are spaced way too far apart. If you look at the bridge (the little piece between the cups), it’s quite wide. Because the underwires aren’t butted right up next to each other, it’s much less firm and supportive. Again, it’s fine for lounging around the house, but I wouldn’t do jumping jacks in this thing.
- Double scalloped lace is economical: The coral stretch lace had scallops on both sides (called galloon lace). After cutting out the cups and back, I sliced the remaining lace down the center and had just enough left to add to the hem because both sides are usable as a border. I used almost every scrap, which always feels so good, doesn’t it?
Thinking about what I’ve learned from a project really feels good, and seems to turn the little mistakes into opportunities instead of disappointments. I think writing it down like this will make it even more concrete. Do you do this yourself? I mean, do you look at mistakes and failures as a waste of your time and materials? Or more as a learning experience?