I am a prize-winning bramaker!

Well, my lovely knit shirtdress didn’t place as a finalist in the Monthly Stitch’s “hack it” contest. I’m telling myself it’s just because they didn’t want one person to run the tables all month long, haha. Hopefully my “Horses”-inspired RTW copycat outfit does better, & I’m also planning to enter the bonus bundle challenge. I have one garment all cut out & ready to go. I did a muslin a few days ago & was absolutely stunned to discover that I didn’t hate it. It’s the Anderson blouse from Sew Over It. If tasked with finding an indie blouse pattern that would be least likely to work on my figure, it would have been a strong contender, but I made a sleeveless version & I actually kind of loved it!

Any disappointment I may have felt about the “hack it” challenge, however, was completely erased when Beverly Johnson announced the winners of the bramaking contest she ran this year. I entered my Vintage Valentine bra in the “creative use of trimmings” category. I really wanted to enter a bra into each category, & even sketched some ideas, but ultimately I just didn’t make the time for it.

Beverly broke the contest entries into two posts: one for the entrants & one for the winners. I read the entrants post first & didn’t see my bra. I got really nervous that maybe my entry hadn’t gone through! Then I looked at the winner post & there it was! I won third place. Especially when you consider that it’s only the sixth bra I have ever made (& the first two aren’t really wearable), & I’ve only been sewing, full stop, for a little more than three years, I am absolutely thrilled! I won a $50 gift certificate to Bramaker’s Supply, along with a huge boost of confidence. I’m going to spend some of it on the new bralette pattern that Beverly just released (finally! A bralette that I won’t have to grade up, designed by someone who is aware that some women have larger-than-B-cup breasts!), & maybe I’ll save the rest for pretty fabrics once I make more of a dent in my lingerie supply stash.

The July challenge for the Monthly Stitch was also finally announced today (not a moment too soon!). Of course it was polka dots &/or stripes. It was put to a community vote & no other idea really stood a chance. It seems like I am the only person who sews who doesn’t not really care for polka dots or stripes. Not that I’ve never made anything striped or polka dotted (the Vintage Valentine bra featured polka dots rather prominently). It’s just not my favorite.

Jared talked me out of my original idea for the challenge by pointing out that the fabric I wanted to use was really not striped or polka dotted in any way. I was like, “Yeah, but if you’re standing really far away & maybe your vision isn’t the best, it kind of looks like polka dots?” & he was like, “No.” So, back to the drawing board. Luckily, it didn’t take me long to come up with an alternate idea: shorty overalls in pindot denim. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pindot denim on hand, so that had to be ordered. I also don’t have an overalls pattern. I considered the Turia Dungarees by Pauline Alice, but the pattern isn’t quite what I want, & I’d probably have to grade it up a little. & I just don’t want to splash out on another expensive pattern right now.

I have a shorts pattern adapted from a pajama pant pattern from a sewing book I got at the library that has the fit I like. I’ve added pockets & made them a few times as sleep shorts. I think I’m going to change up the pocket shape, add a mock fly, & draft the bib myself. I asked Jared if I should make the bib pocket shaped like a kitty cat face. He was like, “Sure, why not?” & I was like, “Um, maybe because I turn 37 in like two weeks?” & he was like, “You’re still going to be a person who likes cat face-shaped pockets when you’re 37.”

I went to Hancock to see if they had any polka dot denim for this project. My local Hancock is apparently the regional distribution point for the warehouse, so they’re taking a while to sell through all their stock. But they are very picked over at this point. Only specialty zippers remained. Needles are all sold out. Almost all the thread was gone. I managed to get overalls buckles & buttons & a few other small notions, & then I bought literally almost 20 yards of fabric. It was like $2 a yard! It would have been a crime NOT to buy it!

I got some weird flannel-backed faux leather that will hopefully be turned into a cozy jacket once fall rolls around. I bought some lightweight black denim for a pair of jean shorts (probably going to adapt from the Ginger jeans pattern). I got some plain black pique to make a simple black skirt because…I don’t have one! HOW do I not have a plain black skirt that I’ve made myself? I have an army of handmade skirts, & somehow, all of them are in a crazy print or color. That works okay for the army of handmade black tees that I also have, but I do find myself wanting a plain black skirt sometimes. It seems like a giant hole in my handmade wardrobe.

I also bought some really stretchy, oddly-textured black corduroy to make a skirt & jacket for the bundle challenge (I suspect the jacket will undergo certain major alterations, & I don’t count the black skirt I’m making for the challenge as an everyday basic because it’s a pencil skirt & I don’t know how much I’ll wear it, having literally never worn a pencil skirt before in my entire life).

One of my prizes for one the Monthly Stitch contests I won was a free pattern from Hot Patterns. I picked the Chameleon dress because the shape reminded me of a former roommate who had this skirt I was obsessed with. I didn’t sew back then, so all I knew was that I liked it. It was pretty full & long-ish, make out of some kind of really cozy gray material. Maybe flannel? It had blue trim & pockets. I think it had a bit of a high-low hem, which is usually not my jam. I loved this skirt so much, my roommate hid it because she was afraid I was going to steal it. (I wouldn’t have! But I did ask to borrow it constantly.) Supposedly, the Chameleon dress can be sewn up in practically any fabric: lightweight, heavier, knits, wovens, whatever. I got some pink & black buffalo plaid flannel  to put these claims to the test. I’m hoping to find some kind of voile I like to try it in a more weather-appropriate weight. I’m obsessed with Katy Jones’s Sunday Clippings voile right now, & I kind of want to make it in that, but I’m also planning a blouse, a tee, & some pajama shorts in that same material, so maybe I don’t need an entire wardrobe of it? Or maybe I do?

Art Gallery Recollection Voile Sunday Clippings

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

4 thoughts on “I am a prize-winning bramaker!

  1. Since the people who run the Monthly Stitch are from New Zealand and Beverly Johnson is from Canada, I think you can also say you’re an internationally recognized bramaker!

    I really like that Hot Pattern. I’ve never looked at them too seriously because a lot of their stuff seems to not be my style, but I think that one is a winner. I also love that voile, which I’ve been eyeing for a long time. I saw it at your house when I visited and it made me want to buy some!

    I want to see the Anderson blouse when the drawstring is in. It does look much better than I thought it would, though! It seemed to me like it would totally gape open and not even serve as a garment that covers the body.

    1. Oh, excellent point! “Internationally recognized” sounds so fancy.

      I’ve never looked too closely at Hot Patterns either. The pattern art makes everything seem a little mumsy, you know? Like someone my age trying to dress like a 21-year-old. But I had to examine their offerings more closely to choose a pattern & there was actually a really nice selection of intriguing options.

      As I made the Anderson blouse (it’s done now, but since it’s for a Monthly Stitch challenge, I can’t blog it until the challenge opens…maybe I’ll put it on Instagram in the meantime), I started worrying that that Sunday Clippings voile was a little Grandma’s couch. But I always start to feel that way halfway through a project. I start getting all critical & nitpicky.

      If you make the blouse as written, it definitely gapes open & does not function as a legitimate garment. I added four sew-in snaps & completely changed the way the drawstring is installed, & now it’s actually a real shirt! That I like! & it’s super-comfortable for hot weather.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I feel like in big swathes, it doesn’t look like a couch, but in little bits, it kind of does. But like I said, I always start feeling dubious & doubtful when projects are half-finished, & I get all nitpicky.

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