Monday, June 29, 2009

Trip to NYC!

I am going to NYC tomorrow to shop in the garment district. I hope to find some really pretty new laces and pick up some more supplies. I'll be back to dyeing kits on Wednesday, so look for new kits in the store later this week.
Basics - Part One


To get started making anything, you'll need a pattern. There are many companies that make bra patterns both here in the US and abroad. Each pattern company uses sizes that are relevant to the country of origin. If you're using a Sewy pattern from Germany, then most likely you will be using metric sizing. If you're using an EZI-Sew pattern from New Zealand, then your pattern will have the type of sizing used in Australia and NZ. If you're from the US and have never used foreign patterns before this can be a bit confusing, especially for something that you've never sewn before. Since I am gearing this blog mainly towards the North American readers, I will recommend patterns with US sizing.

What patterns are avaible in US sizing?

There are three companies that I am aware of with US sizing: Kwik-Sew, Elan and Pin-Up Girls. Kwik-Sew and Elan are fairly easy to get - do a Google search for those, and they'll show up. You might even have a fabric store in your area that sells Kwik-Sew. To see styles (and purchase, too!) of both Elan and Kwik-Sew, you can either go to Sew Sassy or to Fabric Depot. The Pin-Up Girls patterns can be ordered from Bra Maker's Supply in Canada.

What kind of pattern should I buy?

Well, most importantly, it depends on your size and need for support. Most patterns are drafted for A through D cups, with or without wires and with a full band or partial band under the cups. Patterns in size ranges for DD cups and beyond usually have a full band only under the cups and wires. One major difference is the types of fabrics the pattern is drafted for. The larger the size, the more support is need from the cups and band. In these cases, the fabrics need to have no stretch or minimal stretch. For smaller sizes and styles, fabrics with more stretch is used and the patterns are drafted to allow for stretch in the cups. Beyond considerations for support - which is why you're wearing a bra in the first place - then the choice is yours for the look of the final product that you'd like. Don't forget that you can change the look of a basic pattern by placement of lace and other trims.

Now, I have a question for you. I *might* have an opportunity to make available a certain pattern line. I was thinking it would be nice to offer a bundled kit for those beginners who would like to give this whole idea a try. I would like to offer a beginner's kit with a pattern, a white kit (fabric/notions/wires) for use in making a muslin/trial bra, and then a colored kit (fabric/notions/wires) for making another pretty bra. You'd have everything you'd need except for the sewing machine and thread. In the end, you'll end up with at least one wearable bra, and maybe two if the white one works out! What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Big "Thank You"!

Thank you all for the interest and well wishes! I wasn't sure if this idea would fly or not, but apparently there is some interest in such a product!

First, the winner of the giveaway kit:


Congrats! H2omelyn, please email me at sbanks "at" metrocast "dot" net with your mailing address, kit size, color and wire size (bra size) so that I can get the right sized wires into the kit and get it into the mail to you quickly!

Second, I thought I would answer a few quick questions/comments today and then next week start a "Basics". The series will start with patterns and will focus primarily on those easily available in the US with American sizing.

Sorry if these topics seem random, but I took notes as I read through the comments, because I wanted to make sure some of these topics were addressed!

The Purple Iris bra shown yesterday is one that I made for my daughter with supplies dyed at the same time as the Purple Iris kits. It is a Merckwaerdigh, which is a Dutch pattern company. It has no wires and has the same lace as the Pale Pistachio kits.

I have thought about offering kits with coordinating colors. This is something I will explore in the future if things work out well and when I add new kit colors. Sea Breeze would be pretty combined with a Chocolate Brown, and I can see Cantaloupe combined with a pink, too.

One of the biggest questions was regarding panties or a combo bra/panty kit. I have also thought about offering this, too. To be honest, there is probably enough fabric in those kits to make matching panties. The tricot is 54" wide and the powernet is 45" wide. The trouble you'd run into is the matching panty elastic. I am going to see what I can find for panty elastics and stretch lace that will dye. I have some that I tried, but it didn't take the dye, so it must be polyester. Polyester will not take the dye used for nylon fibers. It certainly is something I'd like to offer, and could batch dye all the components for a perfect color match.

I hope that answers some of the questions!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Grand Opening

Welcome to my newest blog and latest adventure!

So just why did I start the new blog and business? Well, I started making bras a few months ago and quickly discovered that in the US, there is not an easy way to obtain all the supplies necessary for one bra in matching colors except for white, beige, black and sometimes pink. While all those colors are necessary under certain colored garments - you know beige or white under white clothes - all little color once in a while is fun, too! I started dyeing my own components and then realized it would be really nice for everyone else to have these things too, as ready to sew kits with the sewer providing the pattern and thread.

I'm not exactly sure of the exact direction this blog will take, but for the moment it will be focused on my latest little hobby and business venture: hand dyed bra kits. I'll use this space for Etsy store announcements such as new colors or kits and for general product information regarding the dye process and kit components. This is also the place for your feedback. Are there colors you'd like to see? How about fabrics, notions, or the amount of supplies in a kit? This is place to talk about it. If you make something from a kit, I'll be happy to post a photo of it that you send me, too! I probably will only post here a few times per week, if all goes well.

To give you an idea of the colors I've dyed up for this first lot of kits, check out the photo below. There is deep rose, buttercup, cantaloupe, iris, sea breeze and pale pistachio.

I've sourced supplies, dyed all the components and opened an Etsy store to provide these colored kits at a reasonable price. Small kits are best for A and B cups and cost $15.00, while large kits are best for C and D cups and cost $20.00. The larger kits provide more materials and if you're a small size, a large kit might give you two bras, with the addition of a few extra supplies you provide. Shipping is $5.00 for US Priority Mail shipping and will ship up to three kits to the US, and $13.00 for up to three kits to Canada. For right now, I'm only shipping to North America to keep things simple.

Here's an example of what you can make with a kit, this is the Iris purple, albeit a different lace than the Etsy kits. Those kits have the same pretty lace as is shown in the photo above in Sea Breeze blue.

As an opening bonus, you can win a kit for free! If you win, you'll get your choice of any available kit that has not sold or if your favorite color is gone, I'll custom dye a kit in that color for you. See what's available on Etsy, and leave a comment on this post. I'll draw a winner at 6:00p EST tomorrow, Friday, June 26, 2009. [Edited to extend contest time!]