Tag Archives: bra

Downton Abbey-ish dress or: McCalls 5466

7 Dec

  • Pattern: 

  • Inspiration:

This didn’t start out to be a Downton Abbey-ish dress. I just wanted a nice simple straight dress, no fuss, no bother. I’d already made this dress from the pattern:

It looks ok in the pictures, and indeed it looked ok on me, but for some reason I just never liked it. I think the colour wasn’t the best on me. And the back walking-vent was too high to be practical modesty-wise. It took a one-way trip to the Op-Shop when I eventually got sick of it sitting unworn in my wardrobe. I hope whoever got it enjoyed wearing it.

I really loved the top with the pleats though, and in likewise the pleated skirt. I figured the negatives would be eliminated by a beautiful fabric that suited me colour-wise, and making the back vent more modest. However, while cutting the dress out I realised I would have enough fabric to make the skirt long (well I thought I did). I like long! And I figured if I didn’t like this particular dress long, I have a pair of good fabric cutting scissors handy…

So I made it up as a long dress… only to realise the skirt wasn’t quite long enough to be Long.

No matter though! I could suddenly see its True Potential. I could add a wide lace mock-underskirt to it to make it Long, and it would lend to the dress a sort of Downton Abbey-ish layered long dress kinda look. Mmmm!

And indeed I think it works 🙂

  • Fabric/notions/trim used:

I confess, mum bought this fabric for shorts. It’s mostly rayon with about 10% polyester. I, ahem, humbly felt it would be wasted as shorts, and did a bit of negotiation. Since mum only wears shorts to the gym and the like, she was amenable to a fabric swap with something in my stash suitable for shorts for her. YAY!

There’s an invisible zip in the back, polyester lace at the waist and cotton eyelet lace at the hem.

  • Construction notes:

My layered lace Downton Abby-ish look. I simply sewed the lace underneath the skirt a few inches above the hem. You can see the join-line from the outside, but since the only other alternative for attaching it was a separate underskirt, which would have added another layer and made it too hot to practically wear, I accepted the join-line with good grace. However if anyone has another suggestion as to how to make the lace look layered without an underskirt or join-line, I’d love to hear it….

Close-up of the lovely bodice pleats. I added in a bust dart from the side seam, to accommodate my C-cup bust, but I’m not sure I really needed it. Never mind, the extra ease helps keep it cooler than otherwise.

There were a number of people who reviewed this pattern who didn’t like the skirt back pleats over the fullness of their hips. So I tried a different approach. I measured how wide I wanted the skirt to be around my hips and upper thighs, allowing plenty of ease for walking and coolness. Then I simply sewed it together into a tube, and pleated the extra fabric around the waist, placing the pleat centres directly in line with the bodice’s vertical darts. I rather like it. It looks fine to me. There is enough easy and the fabric is so soft it falls gently over my curves regardless of the pleats over the hips.

I also put in a back vent to my knee to allow me to walk, not shuffle.

  • Cost

Fabric: free for a swap from something in my own stash – a cotton ribstop which was $2pm, total $3

Invisible Zip – $4

Trim: $12 total (Ouch! Oh, but it looks so good…)

Pattern = second time used – $0

Total = $19

  • Final word:

This dress is surprisingly cool to wear. I like this! I was expecting it would be hot due to the polyester in it, but it is thin, and the rayon content is high enough that it is perfectly breathable. It feels a bit prickly though, which is a bit weird, but it isn’t a big issue. And this is another dress that collects compliments, which is really nice!

The Galah Bra (Yes! I made a bra!)

31 Oct

And yes, it’s pink and grey again…

Kwik Sew 2489

  • Pattern: Kwik Sew 2489

Found it in an op-shop years and years ago!

  • Inspiration:

All the beautiful bras and lingerie people have been sewing then posting onto their blogs. Mmmmm!

  • Fabric/notions/trim used:

Stretch (ish) satin in pink and grey galah colours from a  previous project idea I never actually did. (told you I love those two colours together 🙂

Pink bra fastening, straps and underwire casing cannibalised from a bra whose cups had stretched out of shape while still fairly new.

Lingerie elastic from Booby Traps I bought years ago (ie last time I decided I’d give bra-making a go.)

  • Construction notes:

I put the bra fastening on the opposite way to RTW bras. Do you know how difficult it is to do up and undo because of that? Like being 12 again and trying to put bras on for the first time in my life!

Fitting issues: I don’t know why it surprised me that I had similar fitting issues in a sewing pattern bra to RTW bras, but it did. The top of the cup cuts into my bust in RTW and this bra pattern. I must have quite a full high bust, I think. I get around this issue by getting stretchy cup-fabric in RTW bras. But in this satin the “stretch” was really only a token stretch. So I took to the bra with my scissors and sliced into the top bra cup piece, let it open to where it needed naturally, then filled in the gap with a scrap of fabric.

It actually worked! I measured the width of the gap and it is 4cm. So next bra I make I’ll redo the cup, cut and spread it, maybe in three different places to get a more even spread of the extra 4cm.

I also think I’ll run a line of clear elastic along the top of the cup for extra safe keeping. And possibly make the top edge of the cup a bit higher so everything stays neatly were it is supposed to.

I was looking at the cup style of my latest fave RTW bra. That side cup piece is interesting. I’m considering drafting that cup and try that as a pattern. So many possibilities!


Take a look at the inside of the bra. So messy! The satin frayed the moment I touched it, so in some parts I just had to zig-zag right over the edge, like at the base of the cup pictured. Also, white in the elastic side and grey on the outer would have looked much nicer. *takes notes for next time*

  • Cost

50cm stretch satin = $5

Pattern = 50c

Total = $5.50

  • Final word:

Hey, it worked!!! 😀 It is very comfortable too. Bonus! Must go make another one. It was a lot easier than I expected.

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