Saturday, March 30, 2013

Adventures in Bra Fitting

Greetings!  Yes, its been a while.... I managed to thoroughly screw up my knee and was basically useless for a couple of weeks.   Anyhow, I return, although this post is being sabotaged by a certain fuzzy beast, who seems determined to help me type.  I'm fairly certain independent use of the keyboard offends him.

Anyhow, as the miscreant has finally settled down....  bra fitting!   Forever ago, I got the book 'Bare Essentials' by Matthews and Fairbanks and have been puttering around with it.    After getting my act together and acquiring the right under-wires, I took another stab at it this past week.

The basic pattern (included in the book) came together very easily, but produced a somewhat wedge-shaped cup  that just wasn't what I was going for.   Now, later chapters in the book discuss shaping the cup in multiple pieces (this is only two), how to draft your own, specialty types (nursing, mastectomy, strapless, etc)   However, being me, and being impatient and not being in the mood for math, I went for duct tape.

What?  Yes!  Duct Tape!   There is no problem it cannot solve!!!!!!!

Basically, the name of the game is to tape your breast in the position you want it (I made a masking tape shield first, so the adhesive wasn't on any of the tissue) and then use the form to make pattern pieces.

Rather than redo the entire bra pattern, I used the band pieces from the previous endeavor  as the cups were basically the same size - just a new shape.  

 As you can see, the result is much less pointy - however, when transferred back onto my body there was a bit to much fabric at the top , so I pinned it down in a demi-plunge (really name, anyone?).

The result is the most comfortable thing I have ever worn.   It is a smaller band size and larger cup size than my current bra, and lets the bridge sit right on my sternum and the band lies horizontally across my back, parallel to the floor.  I wore it all evening and it only pinched when I was hunched over in a rather ridiculous position - otherwise, it was fantastic.

I spent a lot of time fussing about under-wires, and contacted Norma of Orange Lingerie, who advised me to bend them around my rib cage - its amazing how much difference a small bend makes.  Instead of a single, almost fulcrum like pressure point, the wire distributed its pressure evenly.   (By the way - she has a book coming out next month on bra-making.    I'm pretty excited to see it.)

There are still some odd pulls in the fabric, and its not quite as supportive as I would like, so I am going to keep tinkering, but all in all the whole process was a lot easier than I'd anticipated and went together really quickly.

My current plan to so add length to the band all the way around - not to the point of a long-line bra, but about an inch, both for seam allowance and to give the band more space to be supportive.    (I swear, its like building a cantilever)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Kel's Incredible Backpack

 I'm starting this incredibly picture heavy post with the only progress shot he took (see the binder clips?  He used them as pins)

The following is Kel's backpack which he designed and constructed himself.   I acted as consultant for a couple of bindings and zippers, but this is all his own work.  He actually designed it in solid works (a CAD tool used by mechanical engineers to design parts for machines), blew it up to life-size and printed out the pictures to use as patterns.

He wanted a backpack that could hold both his laptop and camera (a big DLSR) and allow easy access to both.  He's also really into modularity, so the outside is covered in MOLLE straps and the inside has tons of velcro.  

He has a waist strap in progress with a nifty velcro attachment so that it can be easily detached/reattached 

 close up of the straps the the beaver tail (the hangy pouch thing)  the beaver tail can either be flipped up and clipped in place to hold a jacket or flipped down to hang from the base of the pack.   If you look closely, you can see it has a pocket where one could put hiking poles or other long things (such as a tripod) - the top of which can then be strapped to the main body of the pack.

He found fancy mesh-covered foam for the back (I think it looks like a ninja turtle) and arranged it to allow air channels, so it will be more comfortable for extended wear.

 It hard to tell in this picture, but the straps are curves to go around his neck without rubbing, nip in on the chest to leave his arms free and then curve back down his sides.

This is the camera section - its a side access pocket with dividers to hold the camera, several spare lenses and whatever else happens to be useful.  It's positioned so that he can swing the back around on one shoulder and fiddle with the contents  without letting anything drop.

The laptop section is accessed from the top and hangs from the top, so that it can be removed when going through security.

(All the big interior pockets are removable)

Velcro covered headphones port.  He was quite smug about this one.


Fancy interior pockets

The white-ish oval thing in the top right corner is a click light for night-time rummaging.

Another side shot, in all its glory.   We never got pictures of his first backpack (a bright yellow creation from a few months ago) but this one is orders of magnitude better in every possible way.     In the past few months he's gone from unfinished seams and not really knowing how to handle zippers to this.   If I hadn't seen it in progress I never would have thought it was anything other than a commercial product (in the best possible way)   Huzzah for Kel and the custom backpack of awesome!

Monday, March 4, 2013

More Action Jeans!

 More action-jeans!  And this time with better pictures!   I actually finished these a week ago, but am having camera issues again, so I had to wait for my lovely assistant to stop traveling around the country.

super duper action shot!

Like the first pair, these have a crotch-gussset (fun fact:   CGs are what let Chuck Norris do round-house kicks in Walker Texas Ranger)

I'm an absolute convert - by cutting the gusset on the cross grain, it adds SO much movement to the pants.

I've yet to encounter proper pocketing, so as usual, I used random scraps from old projects for pretty pockets.

Interestingly enough, Kel really liked the festive pockets and has requested I do something similar in the hem of the next pair of pants, for unexpected pops of color.   What with summer coming up, I think I might do something fun in the way of capris.

However, my very favorite part of the pants is the 8 (yes, 8!) belt loops.  My belt cannot escape.  Ever.  (Although, little frayed bits can -- its been through the wash once already and it seems needed a bit of a trim...)

For anyone keeping track, these (and other other jeans) are both part of my massive stash bust.   As of right now I am at 11!     2(jeans) + 3 (pillows - unblogged) + 1(corset) + 1(cap) + 1(watermelon sewing case)+ 1(princess slip) + 1(skirt refashion) + 1 (elf slippers)   and I still have three giant tubs of fabric....

Also - Happy My Birthday!  (March Fourth!   ::marches forth::)

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