chebe: (Sewing Machine)
[personal profile] chebe
It has been a busy few weeks! From dipping my feet in the fog cloaked Pacific Ocean, to walking along the bright three-hours-of-night Baltic Sea, and all within a month. From San Francisco to Stockholm, I somehow managed to not visit any hackerspaces. I just didn't have the time. Work sent me to the Bay Area for training, and I went to Stockholm to take a sewing course.

Stockholm is very easy to get around. The city centre not being that sprawled means you can easily walk around all day. But there's also public bikes, buses, trams, and trains. Everyone is friendly and has great English, which is just super convenient for the clueless tourist like myself.

However, the number of similarities between not only Swedish/English, but also Swedish/Irish is quite interesting. For example, button in Swedish; knapp, and button in Irish; cnaipe, pronounced almost identically. And then there's the Irish Viking place names, and Irish Norman family names... It's almost like they're related in some way ;)

But, back to the course! It was two days of exhaustive sewing. And I mean exhausting. I was falling asleep on the twenty minute train journey back to my hotel each day. Clearly I would never be able to do anything as strenuous as the Great British Sewing Bee!

First the absolutely lovely Beverly measures and fits you so you get the correct size/fit pattern. (The pattern being the somewhat retro styled Pin-Up Classic Full Band bra. The cups are formed from two pieces each, and are unlined. Something pretty rare in ready-to-wear these days.) You cut out the pieces, and Beverly makes adjustments. Then you're ready to cut out the duoplex and powernet fabric (everyone's first bra is white).

Finally you start sewing; assembling the cups (attaching the straps), and the band, and then attaching the cups to the band. All this is just regular sewing with a straight stitch.

Then you attach the channelling (that the underwire will eventually go into), zigzag stitch the picot elastic to the bottom edge of the band and along the outside of the straps, then you zigzag the elastic to the neckline. You make adjustable straps with elastic and rings-and-sliders, attach with the lightning stitch, and add the hook-and-eye closure. Finally you slide in the underwires and stitch the channelling closed. Voila, a functional bra!

Pin-Up Classic Full Band bra in white duoplex and powernet, with a mint green bow

My first bra! Pin-Up Classic Full Band pattern, front view
Photo by chebe



Pin-Up Classic Full Band bra in white duoplex and powernet, view from back

My first bra! Pin-Up Classic Full Band pattern, back view
Photo by chebe



Once you've gone through the process once (or twice) it really does seem quite straight-forward! Beverly said after a bit of practice it takes about six hours to make a bra. Which is not too long at all.

I managed to get started on a second bra; a delicious black with strong purple lace. Here it is after sewing the pattern pieces together, but before adding all the necessary elastics, notions, etc.

Pin-Up Classic Full Band bra in black duoplex and powernet, mid-assembly, view of front

My second (unfinished) bra! View of butterfly effect lace from front
Photo by chebe



Pin-Up Classic Full Band bra in black duoplex and powernet, mid-assembly, view of inside

My second (unfinished) bra! Inside view after attaching the cups
Photo by chebe



The wonderful Bodil, who organised for Beverly to come over and who runs the European distribution for Bra-Makers Supply, lent me a sewing machine to use while I was there. (Mine just wasn't going to fit in my carry-on allowance.) It was a lovely, electrical, Bernina. I've never sown with a machine so fancy. But now, of course, I feel the need for a new sewing machine. At least I'll be able to put it to good use. You see, the very busy Bodil also makes up beautiful kits, including hand dyeing some wonderful colours. And I just had to acquire a couple of sets. You know, something to keep me busy until I go back next year to learn more. Yep, I'm addicted.
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