handmade lingerie

by Nicole on August 19, 2015



Hello, hello! Who’s ready to see a bunch of pictures of BOOBS? Featuring real lumps, bumps, stretch marks, and bad tan lines! (And a shampoo cameo or two, oops!)

I think posting half-nakey pics of myself on the internet calls for a bit of explanation. Not about why, because I don’t think I should have to justify that. People see me in public in a bikini, right, so why should a bra & undies be any different? I guess the explanation is more about why I felt it was important for people to see a body like mine in garments like this. The thing is, I don’t think there should be anything shocking, or brave, or sexual, about posting pictures like this. I like my body and I’m proud of it because of what it can do. This body takes four mile walks to grab a bite to eat. This body swims laps for 30 minutes straight, can run an 11 minute mile, can downward dog with the best of ‘em. This body rides bikes to the park and plays tennis and lifts weights and does squats and even sometimes does burpees. A year ago, I couldn’t do a lot of that stuff. But a year ago, I decided to stop hating my body and wishing it was smaller, and instead decided to accept myself as I was. Only after accepting my body and learning to love its softness and curves did I finally feel committed to taking care of it. And as sort of a funny a result, I have lost quite a bit of weight in the past year or so, but it hasn’t been to look skinnier. It’s because I finally appreciate my body for what it’s like in this very moment that I want to take care of it, to feed it food that makes it feel good, and to do activities that make it feel good. And feeling good and strong and happy makes me feel proud of my body, almost the way you feel proud of a garment you really took your time on. We tend to feel proudest of the garments with the prettiest ‘guts’, yeah? These might not always be the most flattering or the trendiest or get the most likes, but we feel good about them because we took the time to show them love, to say that this garment deserves something special. So I’m posting these pictures as a love letter to my body, in its current state, to remind myself that this body deserves something special. And I think yours does too, no matter what it looks like on the outside.

So, uh, now that we’re done with the sappy stuff, should we move on to the pattern?


This is the Cloth Habit Watson Bra & Bikini. First off, let me say that this was my first stab at making lingerie, and HOLY CRAP, IT WAS FUN. Seriously, I got all the same feel-goods that I get from making jeans. There’s just something about that kind of specialty sewing that gets my brain all excited. In fact, I made both the bra and underwear in one sitting, and when we went to dinner later that night, my brain couldn’t stop thinking about how much fun it is to sew lingerie elastic, haha!


For a first attempt at lingerie, I highly recommend this pattern. The instructions were really great, so great that I barely even needed help from the sewalong (although I did use the sewalong method for the undies to get a cleaner finish). I did make several mistakes along the way, but nothing a seam ripper couldn’t fix (and it was all user-related, like applying elastic to the wrong side or getting a pucker in my cup, grrrr). Also I do have some wrinkling in the cradle (my milliskin must have stretched out a little more than the lining, oops), but it doesn’t really bother me.


The fabric and notions all came from a kit I bought from Blackbird Fabrics, and I definitely recommend them. Caroline has such good taste in fabrics, and I love how pretty this bra came out. Plus it comes with literally everything, even the powernet and a little bow (!), and I’ve heard that some of the kits out there don’t come with all these things. The only thing I didn’t like about the kit is that the notions weren’t labeled, so for a total lingerie novice like me, it was a little confusing. I wasn’t sure which elastic I was supposed to use where. I ended up using the thinner elastic on all parts of the undies (which I made first), but I’m not sure if that’s right because I ended up running out and had to use the thicker elastic on the neckline of the bra. It looks fine, but I’m pretty sure I messed that part up.



I made a 38C for the bra and an XL for the undies. Word to the wise–trust Amy’s instructions for the sizing! I was seriously skeptical as I made this bra because all my RTW bras have smaller bands and larger cups (my sports bras are all 32H, and my everyday bras are 34DDD), but I think the fit is pretty comfortable and wearable. The top of the cradle doesn’t sit flat against my chest, but I highly doubt a bigger size would fix that. It seems like big boobs will always sag a little in a soft bra like this and will cause that part of the cradle to push out, so I’m not too worried about it. I do have a bit of breast tissue under my arms that isn’t all the way encapsulated by the cups, but I don’t know if that means I need a bigger cup altogether, or if I maybe just need to slightly redraw the cradle & cup to accommodate that extra half-inch of side boob.


Will I jump into more lingerie making now that I’ve made my first set? I do have plans to make another Watson using another kit I bought from Blackbird, but I think I’ll just stick to sewing lounge bras like this for now. I’m really happy with the bras I buy locally, and don’t really want to have to learn all the extras that come with underwires and whatnot. But I definitely want to make more undies and soft bras, if only so I can have more fun sewing in lingerie elastic!

more loose, more blue.

by Nicole on August 10, 2015


20150810_163026I know, I know, I’m becoming a broken record. ANOTHER loose shape?!? MORE dark blue fabric? (Even worse, it’s a total repeat fabric using the leftovers from my Southport.) No idea what’s going on in my brain, but that’s all it wants to wear and sew right now, so I’m going with it.


I’m sure most of you recognized the pattern immediately since pretty much everyone has made at least five versions. Yep, baby’s first Grainline Scout! Great pattern, and great instructions. I’ve never bound a neckline the way Jen instructs (usually I use bias tape that’s been through my bias-tape maker, and I don’t use a pre-measured amount but rather just eyeball it as I go around), but I found I got a much flatter neckline inserted it the way she instructs. Sold! The shape is so simple, but I think it’s perfectly drafted and pretty flattering for being a big ol’ t-shirt! I’m also surprised at how comfortable a woven t-shirt is, because I didn’t think it could compare to a knit. But it feels way lighter, looks nicer, and isn’t restrictive at all.


I made my usual adjustments–1/2″ forward shoulder adjustment (also altered the sleeve cap per Heather B’s awesome tutorial), and a 2″ FBA on size 14. Because of the FBA, I did end up adding a dart, and I decided to keep it instead of rotating it out because I honestly don’t mind sewing darts and I feel like I personally get a way better fit with them. Next time I need to raise the dart, though, because I accidentally made it way too low.


One question–should I size down? I know the Scout is supposed to be loose & drapey with slightly-dropped shoulders, but I’m wondering how it would look with a bit less ease. I’d like to make several more assembly-line style because I really need some good tops to wear with my Ginger Jeans. And after seeing how great this pattern is, I can’t wait to dig into the other Grainline patterns I have, like Alder and Archer and the Lakeside Pajamas!


Also, do you like my new glasses? I *LOVE* them, even more than I expected. I was given them for free by Firmoo in exchange for an honest review, and since I’ve always wanted a pair of colored glasses, I took them up on it.


Unfortunately, I can really only review the frame quality, but not the lens quality because these are non-prescription. I have bad eyes, like REALLY bad eyes, and my prescription is too high for them to fill. (Side note: this isn’t just Firmoo, I had the same problem with my Warby Parkers a few years ago and had to buy the frames by themselves and take them to an optician for my prescription lenses. But as long as your combined sphere is less than -10.00, Firmoo can fill them for you.)

Firmoo’s frames are all very, very inexpensive. In fact, the glasses I chose are only $36!!! But the frames really don’t feel inexpensive. I mean, they definitely feel like plastic when you hold them, so there’s kind of an inherent flimsiness to them, but overall the frame feels as sturdy as my Warby Parkers (which were 3X the price) and previous glasses I’ve had. Oh, and your purchase even comes with a hard case, soft case, cleaning cloth, and a repair kit! Do keep in mind that along with that low price that enables you to buy several pairs for accessorizing, you are buying the glasses from China. So if that’s not your thing, Firmoo may not be your thing either. But I REALLY love my glasses, so much so that I think I’ll spring for the $200ish to get prescription lenses from my optician!

The one thing I don’t love about Firmoo is that there’s no ‘home try-on’ like companies such as Warby Parker have, but there is a virtual try-on (although when I used it, I have to admit the glasses I chose looked pretty ridiculous on my avatar, so I don’t know how much weight I’d give it). Although with the glasses being so cheap, it kind of makes sense that there’s no ‘home try-on’. But you do get one free exchange (minus shipping), and the website shows several measurements of each frame that you could compare to your old frame to make sure you get a pair that will fit your face.

If you’d like to purchase your own glasses from Firmoo, you can use this link for a 15% discount (not a referral link).

For reading all this, you deserve an outtake. No idea why taking blog photos would cause someone to look so terrified, but yeah, I can’t really control my face.


Let’s talk Scouts! Should I size down? And have you made any cool variations? I love Sonja’s Nanette Lepore Scout, and would like to experiment with a Scout dress also (see here and here and here)!

life lately 7/24/15

by Nicole on July 24, 2015

Dang, it’s been a while since I shared a “life lately” post! Here’s what I’ve been into this summer:


I recently discovered the Slumber Party with Alie and Georgia podcast, and it is HILARIOUS. Their sense of humor is identical to mine, and I relate so much to everything they talk about. Other podcasts high in my rotation: Radiolab (my #1 podcast love, Jad 4EVA), Invisibilia, Reply All, Burnt Toast, This American Life, Mystery Show, Love + Radio, and Serial. What are your favorite podcasts?


We made homemade ricotta this week and then used the leftover whey to make this bread. The ricotta was great, the bread was MIND-BLOWING. I’m gonna go ahead and say it’s the best bread I’ve ever eaten. The texture is perfect for sandwiches and toast, and the flavor is just incredible because of the different grains.

Also made the pickled jalapenos from the Seven Spoons cookbook. One of the three jars we made is already gone!

Molly Yeh’s banh mi bowls were so fucking delicious too.

Really want to make this cake soon.


Kelly at Cut Cut Sew mentioned her super cute Nisolo sandals in a recent post, which then led to me buying these two.


Thinking about taking Bollywood dance classes beginning next month! Because I want to dance like this. Side note–we just subscribed to Eros Now, which is like Netflix for Bollywood movies. A very worthwhile $8/month, if you ask me!


I’m actually doing some uncharacteristic, unselfish sewing right now, making a linen chambray Southport tank for my sister-in-law. After that, I’m going to get to work on my first Scout!

And after a months-long hiatus (maybe close to a year, whoops), I finally picked up my Effortless Cardigan again. I need to finish the sleeves (one is half done), then do the band and collar. Let’s hope I finish in time for cold weather, haha. I want to make the Embrace wrap cardigan next (thanks to Andi for mentioning that pattern).


What’s going on with you guys lately?