Magic from your Sewing Machine

Magic from your Sewing Machine

I often issue a ‘ready-to-wear” challenge to the students in my professional bra-making classes. The assignment is to duplicate the look and styling of a ready-to-wear bra. Marsha Barr of Bra-voh Custom Bras was recently inspired by this RTW Freya Arabella Bra. I adore the look of this bra! Can you tell which bra is the original and which is the copy? To make this bra, we had to make some magic. You can too. You can make magic from your sewing machine!

The bottom one is the copy and the top one the original. But this challenge wasn’t as easy as it may appear. That fabulous fabric in the upper cup is not available to us – it is exclusive to Freya in the U.K.So how did she do it? Marsha had to make the fabric…yes, MAKE the fabric on her sewing machine! Follow along so you will learn to do this magic from your sewing machine yourself.

 
 
 First assemble the sheer fabric (we used Sheer Cup Lining as it has enough body to hold the stitching), a ruler, a marker, decorative rayon threads (we used Sulky 30 weight rayon) and most importantly, some Ultra Solvy Water Soluble Stabilizer. This plastic-like clear product will wash out completely after stitching, leaving the fabric soft and sheer. If working with sheer fabric, you must use a heavy weight water-soluble. Place the Solvy under the fabric.

Draw stitching guidelines directly on the Ultra Solvy. Find the stitches you want to use on the fabric and test the stitching to make sure they look good together and that they stand out on the fabric. I have to admit, this sampling is the fun part! 

 
Once you say yes to the best ones, go ahead and start stitching. Here’s what the fabric looks like when it is all stitched up. This really is magic from your sewing machine! I love the look of these built in stitches!
 
 
 Marsha also stitched over a narrow black ribbon. In the original bra, there was a similar look (even though it wasn’t ribbon). She used a twin needle to make rows of scallops. Yes, you can use a twin needle to sew decorative stitches – just make sure the width of the stitch plus the width of the needle does not exceed the width of your throat plate. (In other words, use a 3.0 twin needle with a 4.0 width stitch if your machine can handle a zig-zag width of 7 mm)
Marsha also sewed rows of straight stitch with a twin needle. These are easy to stitch if you marked the guidelines first.  When the work is finished, it may look a little rumpled. Don’t worry about it. If your tension was good, the stitching will be fine. Next, wash out the Ultra Solvy under lukewarm water.
 
 
Let it dry and press it with a press cloth and low heat. We used Sheer Cup Lining which s 100% nylon – not something you want to press with a really hot iron!

Complete the bra as usual. Marsha even used pink elastics to mimic the ones used on the original bra. She used the Stretch Crochet Neckline trim on the straps as well as the top and bottom edges of the band.

 
 Here’s the final result! A job well done, Marsha! Are you inspired to create magic from your sewing machine?
 
 
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