Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Bra Adventure

It's been a while since I posted anything on my other classes, so here's what I just finished in Lingerie class. ("Lingerie class" sounds so strange; like all we do in class is try on underwear and prance around!)

Ta-da, my bra~ Originally we were all supposed to make the same bra out of the same white—but dyeable—materials from the teacher, but with enough whining, most people ended up with their own personalized versions. I wanted to make a bra that I wouldn't be able to find anywhere else, so this one is made of some Liberty of London cotton I bought years ago and never used. I knew collecting for the sake of collecting would pay off eventually.

So bra-specific parts are really hard to find in normal fabric stores. And it turns out a bra needs a lot of these parts. I tried to be a trooper and get my own materials from the store myself. I figured looking for things like "powernet" would be a learning experience—I didn't want to be like "I don't know, I just got it from the teacher," you know? But other than the fabric, I came up empty-handed for several parts and ended up having to buy them from her after all (she'd gotten them wholesale). So things like the underwire, underwire channel, finishing elastic, and ring and slider (actually, I never even looked for these things). Even the strap elastic was kind of a lucky find—it's an elastic, but what sets it apart from all other kinds of elastic [who knew there were so many kinds] is that they're not super stretchy, and the side that goes against your skin is plush-backed (a little fuzzy) and the side you show the world is pretty. It was also a huge miracle finding it in the color I did, because even if you're lucky enough to find the item you need, chances are it only comes in white. Which means you have to dye it. Which only works if it's not polyester. Which you won't really know until you TRY to dye it because nothing is labeled.

Anyways, the fabric for the cups was originally going to be used for the entire front, but then it just looked So I took a chance and paired it with an even busier print because I love mixing prints! Yesterday I wore a mustard yellow striped polo with a lemon yellow striped velour track jacket. Don't make a face. It was awesome. But back to the bra, the busy print ended up being a smart choice because it made it harder to see how uneven my stitches were in some places. Yeah, I have yet to master my sewing machine. I'm just glad I finally managed to learn to avoid large thread gobs on the underside of the fabric.

What else do I want to say about this bra... I wish I'd taken more pictures of it during the process, because it's kind of amazing how all the millions of parts came together. I think once you get the cup to fit you the way you want it to (the entire class was complaining that the original Kwik-Sew pattern was too pointy), the rest is pretty much just assembling, and it's kind of common sense how the parts go together. It's just that the parts are so small and the seam allowance is only 1/4 inch, so for someone who has a hard time sewing in a straight line, it's really slow going if you want to get it right. And I wanted to get it right. I hate working on something for so long and having it not come out the way you want it! Picture of it under construction:

Yes, my work space is messy. It's a wonder I can get any quality done. The cups and the band were separate at this point, and you can see I just laid the underwires on the band at this point, to see what the final curve would look like. And this is the back of the finished bra:

The salmon on the underside of the bra was kind of an accident. The underwire channels were supposed to be the same color as the lining—you can see I came nowhere NEAR the target color—but somehow the peach in the dye clung to certain spots on the was the color of cheetoes dust. Gross. So I tried to cover it up with more Rose Pink Rit, so now it looks more like I dyed it all with Kool-Aid, but oh well, better than fake cheese. In the process of NOT matching the lining, though, I somehow managed to exactly match the hook and eye panels to the straps! And the straps are a little squiggly right now, but they should smooth out with wear.

It was lots of fun. I want to make another one, but a more sexy-pretty one next time. Next up: the final project. It can be anything—it just has to be "in the spirit of lingerie." I was thinking of doing a bra-top romper that can be worn out (with the bottom half under a pair of real pants) but everyone's excitement in class to make garter belts has me wanting to throw a pair on the romper as well. Any other ideas?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Features in Tones

New technique that S made us do today: drawing in tones instead of lines, and subtracting the light from a pre-applied medium tone charcoal background with a chamois and then kneaded eraser. I was like "blah, blah, heard it all before," but I tried to just really go with it, and look! I didn't even draw the left iris; it was just there after all that smudging and subtracting! Cool, huh. But I didn't get to the left eye because I'm slow. Anyways, looking forward to doing more of these soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Today is not the 14th.

I actually got to the background and setting of this one! Amazing. Actually it was D who came around during the break and encouraged me to use it not to socialize, but to do some placement of color for the drapery and stuff. Which was probably a smart thing for me because I am slooow so I need all the time I can get. And I tried a new way of starting this drawing: gesturing with flat strokes of a medium skin tone NuPastel, but because the pastel goes on really thick and I didn't want too much buildup so early on, I finished the blocking out of the general figure by smudging around the color with my fingers. Ideally, I'll work a little more on this by adding some fleshier tones on the figure and less fleshy colors in the drapery so that they're not so much the same color.

And yes, the date is wrong in the bottom corner. I spent all day today thinking it was the 14th!