Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Randoms...

Quick. Somebody hide me. There's a BOX (a whole BOX!) of Twinkies in my kitchen. Whispering seductively to me in Barry White voice
"MMM. Oh Yeah baby. You know what I'm talking about. Huah"
Why would I have box of twinkies in the house? Well I wouldn't. But my sweetie who A'ly has been wearing the same size Levis since he was 18. And B'ly DOESN'T even eat Twinkies is apparently a compulsive shopper. If you put it by the checkout he's going to pick it up.
Anybody seen my willpower around here?

Also. You might know that I am a tiny bit alarmist when it comes to my kid getting sick. (Who isn't right? right? right?) It turns out that the only person in the world who's more alarmist about Teddy's health than me is my brother. The kid had 5 little red spots yesterday. And I was all "hmmm rash? Chicken Pox?" (turns out it was neither).
But Elliot was all "MEASLES? BUBONIC PLAGUE!?".
I dunno if it's a brain injury thing or a plain old him thing. But it actually made me feel better (it's nice to be the less nuts one sometimes).
And because posts need pictures... here's a picture of the Dog Faced Girl spending some quality time with a chum.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Man Gift ONE - Leather Patch Scarf

Hokay! We're rolling.
The first Man Gift project is quick, easy and a blatant designer knock off (a triumvirate of fun!) The "inspiration" for this scarf looks like this:

Cute right? Suave with just a hint of geography teacher (totally my favorite flavour).
It's A Maison Martin Margiela Leather Patch Scarf. And it can be yours (or your sweetie's) for the bargain price of three-are you kidding me- hundred and ten dollars US.
OR you could make one that looks a bit like this:

With buttery soft suede and a boiled wool mix that's so soft it's like it's made of kitten parts. For about $15-$20.

Wanna try? You'll need:
4 Suede patches (two ovals two rectangles) OR one "recycled" suede/leather item (coats or skirts give you LOTS to play with) OR suede/leather by the meter.
Scarf weight wool mix. You could either use the length (selvage to selvage, approx. 150cm) which means you can get away with using just 20-40 cm (be aware of patterns) OR you could buy 1.70-2 m it you want a longer scarf or if you're making a few scarves.

The nice thing about buying the smaller amount is that you can get The REALLY GOOD STUFF (you know the wool blends that are so expensive they make you kind of sweaty? Doesn't happen to you? OH.) Anyway the small amount combined with a 50% off sale at Fabricland means that the scarf is seriously luxe feeling but only cost about $12 (and 40 cm is enough to make two scarves).

The first step is to get your straight lines marked out:
I folded selvage to selvage, then marked my line with chalk.

(just as an aside, when I asked the lady in FabricLand for really straight cut she acted like I'd peed in her cereal and was super eye-rolling rude. But this is what a straight cut looks like there. So whatever lady... Phew good to get that off my chest.)

Right. Once you've got your STRAIGHT sides cut you should have something that looks remarkably like a scarf. Mmmm and soft.
With a boiled wool like this you could actually just leave the edges but I think that frayed edges look more scarfy. So I did that next, see:

The next part depends on weather you're using premade patches or recycled leather.
to make your own patches the first thing you do is make a template. I used a little serving dish to make mine. Mark your cutting lines (bog standard pen worked fine for me, chalk made a mess).

It you're using an old jacket or skirt bear in mind that the "wrong" side of the leather might be just as soft and less marked. And that you can rebuff suede (or make it even softer) with a clean, dry plastic scouring pad, just lay it down on a flat surface and scrub in little circles.

Next cut your patches out. I used my pinking shears because the patches on the original scarf have pinked edges but you totally don't have to, leather won't fray.

Right. Got your patches? Good. The next step is to sew those suckers on.
Getting the patches to stay in one place is half the battle here, because using pins will leave holes in your leather.
If you have some of that spray sticky stuff (um, the kind that quilters use? What is that called?) then have at it. But DO check if it marks on a scrap first. If not you could either...

Just wing it, holding you patches and fabric firmly and going really really slowly.
Use a bit of tape like this:
('scuse the lousy picture)
I used low tack masking tape and I stuck it to my shirt first to make it even LESS sticky. And of course I tested a whether it left marks on a scrap piece of suede first (nope it didn't). You need to stick it down as close to the edge as possible as you'll be sewing INSIDE the tape.

And... Sew away. ( I don't have a picture of this step - not enough hands) But I can tell you that I bought special leather needles for my machine. And then totally forgot to use them. So a regular needle works fine, turns out. The other thing is that you should go SLOW. Really really slow, adjusting and making sure you're flat when you need to.

Well HEY! almost done.
I put my patches on different sides. Like this see:

So the wearer can have softie suede next to their neck, and the oval patches are still visible. But you can do whichever.
A voila. One Man Gift!

Oh, and I shared here, here and here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Manly Man Gifts

I'm pretty sure that I'm preaching to the choir here but firstly of all, Handmade gifties = finest kind.
They say, "Hey, I love you and I spent some time making this with my hands because you're awesome".
Which is easy when it comes to the girl types and the under 10's on one's list (and by "one's'" I totally mean mine).
But you guys. Crafting gifties for men folk over the age of 12 or so. YEESH.
So with that in mind, over the next three weeks or so I'm going to be working up some tutes for manly manly Man Gifts! And because I'll be making them the prerequisites are super easy and relatively quick. Quirky, useful, funny or beautiful (or a combination of those things) is a bonus.
They're all things that I have either given my boys (to good response) or they're things that I'll be giving them this year.
If you want to play along feel free to grab a button from the sidebar there ->
or hit me up with suggestions or links (ooou yes! links please!) to what YOU'VE made for the guys in your life in the comments.

Now! On to the projects...
First up a Designer Knock-off Leather Patch Scarf
Secondly, a Leather 'Tache Keychain
Third, a guest post and a MAN BAG (murse!?) from Farah Makes Stuff
Fourth, get your GOOGLY on with Googly Eye Magnets.
And watch this space!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Whining and MAN GIFTS

Gack you guys. Just Blah. Sickie at our house. My poor bear has some kind of germy double whammy; apparently JUST a faceful of snorty snot isn't where it's at this season, OH NO. All the cool germs now come complete with a dose of the whistling-squits.
So that's fun.
Plus side, hanging out in the warm and letting my kid watch TV means I get to have cuddles and do some hand sewing/crochet/poly clay meddling. But I haven't actually FINISHED anything. Or at least nothing I can show you yet. Though it turns out that most of the people on my "Nice" list are the kind with those XY chromosomes. Making stuff for guys. DUDE, way tougher. One Pretty Thing's gift guides are rad, but I am working on a couple of my own ideas too.
If you're a guy who knows me you should look away RIGHT NOW.
No really.
Right now.
I can tell.

Are they gone?
OK good. Ideas like...

A leather patch ribbed scarf
Leather 'stache keychains
"Enamelled" pinup girl cufflinks
Hand Grenade mittens
Wallets (I am so excited about this)
And here's a picture of a the ONE finished Hold-My-Hand mitten. (There'll be a tute for these) The embroidery that looks like it was done in a maximum security wing is totally optional.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sushi Combo B - or "I can't believe I'm doing this again"

Is craft amnesia a thing? Maybe? I'm going to go with yes it is. Because what else could possibly explain the fact that I am making ANOTHER all-hand-stitched felt Christmas present for my bear?
Here's the rational,
Just recently Teddy has been ALL about the play cooking and play cooking needs play food right? (Right? Right?) And my kid's favorite food in the whole world is... sushi.

OK, firstly of all, I KNOW that makes me sound like a pretentious urbanite. In fact I just rolled my eyes at myself. But I can explain! Honest I can.
It's not like he honks down slabs of sashimi (well, aside from tuna, kid loves him some tuna) he just likes avocado Maki rolls and Eel nigiri and Miso Soup with big chunks of "tofes" (soft tofu).
Which when you break it down isn't that crazy, it's just rice and food that is squishy.
And I've been taking him to the sushi place for lunch since before he could sit up by hisself. Because I LOVE sushi (I lived in Japan for a while). And my sweetie DOESN'T like sushi, so Teddy and I go at lunchtimes about twice a month, and he's really good company.

This was taken almost a year ago, his hair is EVEN crazier now.

So Yah. That's why I'm making felt sushi. Want to see how it's coming on?

Like ziz! California rolls, partly finished Nigiri and Tamego.
I kind of love them. And they're super fun to make.
I've been making the design up as I went along and I thaught maybe I'd write a tute. BUT a quick cherche around the internets turned up this one from Carrie at Tao Of Crafts that is completely awesome. I'm SO making some edamame! Cuuute!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Claus, Coach, Karma and... Shoplifters?

You guys you guys! It was the Santa Claus parade here today. And I LOVE it. Floats and The Fat Man In Red and crowds and freezing one's caboose off. I genuinely heart it.
(We saw our first Santa Claus parade here in Toronto, it just so happens that both apartments we have lived in in this city have been spitting distance to the parade route. Co-ince-a-dink? Yah, but still!)
At any rate the parade always makes me feel a bit Miracle on 34th Street. Which this year meant dressing in a vaguely vintagey way. See:

Not quite 1947, or Maureen O'hara (hellFIRE but that girl was cute!) but I felt in the spirit of the thing. So I'm calling it a win.
I also got to wear my new mustard yellow Cardi, which is actually what I wanted to talk about.
This yellow cardi has been slowly making it's way to me for MONTHS. Months I tell you!
It all started in late September when I saw this:

It was a poster for Coach (the handbag company, not the means of transport) on a bus stop on Bay St. I walked past it then had to turn the kid and the pooch around and stare at it for a while, all mesmerized.

"Look" it whispered, all seductively like, "Winter doesn't have to be totally bogus, there can be thick tights, and cardigans that are awesome and skirts and skipping in exotic locations and stuff. Come on Erin, it'll be funtimes".
"Oooou" I replied.

You guys. It had me. And I'm not easily had by high-end advertising (or mainstream fashion stuff).
Now of course I wasn't going to go out and actually shop at Coach. Heh. That would be crazy. But I did make myself a skirt. This one here:

McCalls M4783, (which is the bomb BTW).
And I've been wearing purple leggings with everything. But the cardi escaped me. I've only just weaned myself of an mostly black wardrobe, and I didn't own anything yellow. at all.
(hoo boy this is a rambly post, I do have a point and I'm making my way to it, honest.)
So, I'd been keeping my eyeballs peeled for a mustard yellow cardi. Or scarf or pretty much anything really. Anyhow I went into Winners this Saturday with a kid-free half hour and a burfday gift card (exempt from WR!) burning a hole in my pocket. And there's a guy standing by the door clutching a gift box of perfume, and I was all,
"Huh. That guy's about to boost that".
And then he did.
So I went and found the security guard and I told him. Because I HATE shoplifters and screw Mr. Paris Hilton Heiress Gift Set.
Anyway, apparently the sparkly unicorn of serendipitous shopping likes a tattle tale because my new mustard yellow cardi was the first thing I saw when I turned around. Karma? Who knows.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fetch me an Ewok

I have a question and it's a big one. An important philosophical one. The kind of question where the answer defines you.
The question is:
Which of Princess Leia's outfits do you like best?
(What? You were looking for actual philosophy? You might be in the wrong place.)

I ask because today I accidentally dressed like Leia on Endor. Well maybe not exactly like, but I definitely had a rebel forest moon vibe going on (in my head that's a thing!).
See this is what I wore:
If you look behind me you can see Dilly's Ewok-esque buttocks. Heh. Fuzzy.

It really was unintentional, the Leia thing. I had day two hair and a whim, so I watched a video about Heidi braids (this one) then stuck my hair up. It took a couple of tries. The fist attempt looked like my hair had lost a fight with my hands. A bad fight. In a bar. Armed with pool cues and dinosaurs. But then I got it and it was actually super simple.
The outfit choice was totally subconsious. But it's made the day funnerer. I've been doing REBEL laundry and REBEL banking and I walked my Ewok.
Endor Leia has always been my favorite. She rides a speeder bike, she takes an imperial stronghold whilst vastly outnumbered and she wears a poncho. Those are all thing that are awesome.
My sister is also on Team Endor Leia; look how she rolls in a 5 dollar, 1 hour costume:

Completely awesomely. Isn't she beautiful? (Super talented too. We should talk about her cross stitch design some time. It's extraordinary). And her sweetie is lovely.

Which Leia outfit? What do YOU think your answer says about you? I have some theories, maybe we can compare.
If you're stuck for inspiration check out this. So. Freaking. Awesome.
And just for reference, nope, you're not allowed to choose an Amidala/Padme outfit. We don't discuss those movies here. (Did you see my eye twitch? I have new trilogy issues.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Handbag Rehab

OK, this is just a super quick one to remind myself that meddling with my hair isn't the only thing in the world. (Dude, it takes actual time! Who knew!??)
So, one super simple handbag rehab.
Here's the before:

Brown, leather, Aldo, free (scored from our laundry-room recyling area). It's not terrible, and I was all "meh, it'll do". But those pocket flaps bothered me a bit. They aren't functional (there's no pokey bit on the d ring) and I think the studs make it look... not awesome. I would have left it well enough alone except I saw a woman in the elevator with a remarkably similar brown leather bag WITHOUT weird hardware that looked completely awesome. And was all inspired to do this:

What I did was, unpick the stitching on the pocket flaps, there was a bit of glue too, but I just rubbed/peeled it off. I was, of course, left with stitch holes in the leather, so I grabbed a needle and some thread. Doubled the tread over and stitched away. When I came to the middle bit I just kept going and joined up the lines, like this:

You might have noticed that my stitching is slightly darker than the before photo. That's because my inspiration bag had dark stitching; and I happened to own a fine-tipped acrylic brush pen in dark brown (I can't for the life of me remember why). So I VERY carefully inked over the stitching in the darker colour (the after picture above isn't QUITE finished).
And lastly I tidied the whole bag up a little, snipped off any loose threads and scuffy bits then gave it a quick wipe down with some leather stuff. Then I stuck all my crap back in it and continued to treat it with wonton disregard. (The fun part about free stuff!)

Oh and I done shared here:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

From Hair to Eternity Two

You guys! Today = no ponytail! See:

And thank you heaps for your suggestions and brilliantness.
Just to be clear, I won't be all "HEY! HEY! HEY! LOOKIT MY HAIR!" everyday. I just thought I'd set out some ground rules for myself in writing. In a stern tone of voice. So I'm not tempted to flake.
  • From now until January 1st 2011 there will be no ponytails for me. And by this I mean that if I'm dressed then there will be no ponytail. None. nada. zilch.
  • No staying in my jammies all day to avoid the "if I'm dressed" part.
  • Updos are OK but they should involve a little more thought than "meh, whatever".
  • No doing my hair to go out then instantly jamming it back in a pony when I get home.

There are some exclusions, ponytails are OK when:
Cooking, operating heavy machinery, playing with open flames or wrangling baboons (they're notorious hair-pullers). Also during Pilates class or when I'm training (I'm training for a triathlon, did I tell you?)

So those are my rules.
If you want to play along then that would be awesome (you don't have to follow my Sternly McMeanypants rules!) I've set up a From Hair to Eternity Flickr group, (mostly just to keep myself honest) and you're entirely welcome to post your non-pony dos to it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

From Hair to Eternity - Wherein I attempt to ditch the ponytail

Hey guys? I've had me a hair epiphany.
See, I was checking back on my wardrobe remix photo's and came realise there's a ponytail (or sometimes a smooched up bun - fancy!) in EVERY SINGLE photo.

Which would make sense because that's the only thing I ever do with my hair. I seem to have a permanent hair bungee dent and my idea of complicated grooming is occasionally running a brush through the mess before sticking it back up in a ponytail.
So I was pondering that when I found THIS. Marigold from Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky! is calling a moratorium on the Ponytail. For the rest of the year. Which seems like forever away but totally isn't.
So I am IN! I'm calling it From Hair to Eternity. Because I am nerdy. And 46 days of no ponytails seems kind of like an eternity.
Last night I worked up some determination, gave myself a stern talking to and stuck in some pin curls. (while singing The Other Woman by Nina Simone - awesome, but TINY BIT bleak).
I heart me some pin curls, they make me feel all vintage sassy. Like ZIZ:

And here's how that worked out,

Brushed out and pinned up a bit. (Huh, I look pretty cheerful for a woman who's in the middle of asking a toddler if that's poop she can smell)

But this RIGHT HERE is where I run out of inspiration. SO, I kind of need your help. I'm looking for suggestions, favorite tutes or just inspiration. I can't afford a kickass new haircut, I can't just give into temptation and have another crew cut (like I did when I was 14) on account of Maid Of Honour duties. But I might be flexible on colour. Maybe.
Help a girl out?

Monday Linkage

This shiny, not-so-sucky monday I'm doing a bitta linking. Specifically to here


And here
mmm button

who are you linking too?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Raspberry Lemonade Mittens

Hey are you guys keeping up with Grosgrain's Embellish Your Knits Month? So awesome and she makes it look super easy. You might remember how I was having a hard time with some cardi refashions (and a unicorn)? WELL, I like to think I'm an adaptable sort of girl. I figure if life gives you lemons, then you make raspberry lemonade martinis. And then whine loudly.

So in the spirit of THAT I decided to use some sweater refashion leftovers (read "collateral damage") to make me a set of THESE:

They were super-simple, gratifying and ridiculously quick. AND these might be the girliest things I've ever made; even though this sweater used to belong to my sweetie, (yes it's pink, but he's plenty comfortable and confident enough to wear pink. And look super hot. Really. Yum.).

Anyhow, I think they'd make pretty good gifties. For guys too, if you made them out of a not-pink, rugged, marled, lumberjack/fisherman/bear-wrestling sweater and trimmed them in something manly? Like iron fillings and shark teeth maybe?

Either way, here's how you make them:
First you'll need a felted sweater (I just hacked the arms off of this one and stuck them in the hot wash and dry with some towels. Job done.) One with ribbing at the cuffs or the bottom works best but it's not essential.
Then you'll need to turn your sweater arms inside out and figure out the shape of your mitts. Like this:

Mark the length you want and the space between your pointy finger and your thumb.
(You can totally make them a tighter fit by drawing more closely around your wrist and sewing new seams instead of using the existing seams. I wanted mine pleated so I didn't.)

Your markings should look something like this:

Next you cut along the blue line there (but not along the red one).
Then you sew along the red lines. I reinforced the join of the "v" by sewing over it a few times.
Now you should have something that looks like this:

Next you carefully snip the V shape out (as far down as you can into the valley of the V).
If you're making new side seams it might be an idea to turn them right side out then try them on before you sew up the new shape.
Here's what that might look like:

If you're making a version for guys you could stop here. Or maybe finish off the tops with some manly manly blanket stitch or um, barbed wire or something.
I hand stitched a little pleat into mine. Then popped a button on the pleat. I also added a bit of dollar store cotton crochet lace, (same stuff I used on my duvet cover rehab). And voila, warm paws and girlyness.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Today I had to do something unbreakable. Not like the movie. I'm kinda "meh" about that movie; and I am both a super hero fan and an M. Night Shyamalan apologist, well, except for The Happening. That was brutal. Seriously? Naughty trees? SERIOUSLY?
Wait... where was I?

Oh yup. So today I had to get me a super quick fix of something unbreakable to try and regain my mojo. Over the last two day's I've irrevocably pooched two cardis in attempts to make them more awesometastical (it looks so EASY when Kathleen does it).
So, I needed easy (really really easy) confidence-boosting, instant gratification.
Enter this guy:

It's a shirt see?
With kind of a ruffly bottom and a ribbon belt tie. (Also a weirdly cropped photo. I have a messy house and hair that looks like it was styled by angry monkeys).
I of course forgot to take a before picture (been that kind of day) but I do have an example of what it was like.
The bottom had elastic shirring like this:

Which can look the cutest. But not on me. On me it makes a shirt look puffy. And ball shaped. And rounded. And completely undefined. Which is not my best look ever.
So I Just unpicked the 'lastic thread (and actually I managed to get it all in one piece, so a shirred scarf is next on my list).
I ironed the newly un-elasticated ruffle bit.

Then I tried my new shirt on. It was still a little shapeless, so I stuck a belt around it; but that squished the center ruffle. So I grabbed a couple of pieces of grosgrain ribbon and stitched them on under the ruffle,and voila, new shirt; nothing broken, no wet kitty poop.


Um, guys? Has anybody seen my craft mojo around?
It's pink and it looks like a angry, misshapen unicorn.

If you see it will you ask it to come home please? Because for the last two days everything I touch is turning to wet kitty poop. And that is NOT useful for getting stuff done.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ooou! Did you see? Pretty...

Hey you know when a brand new blog starts SUPER strong and lays on the awesome? I LOVE that.
Specifically, did you guys find Speckless yet? You should you should! Lookit the CUTE:

Eggies! Totally making one of those.
Set of these too.

And Heidi has a great eye for the pretties and an etsy shop that I could live in. What I'm saying is awesomeness. And you should maybe visit.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Surprised? YAH I was!

You guys! I totally got HAD. I got surprise birthday partied and I had NO IDEA. And it was the most fun ever.
First some back story...
My last two birthdays, through nobodies fault really, have been pretty lousy. Last year there was super fun swine flu, and the year before that turning 30 was a non-event.
So this year I asked my sweetie to take me for High Tea at MoRoCo, (MMM CAKE!). The plan was to get all gussied up in a tea dress and make my sweetie wear a tie.

Any how. On Saturday my sweetie told me he had booked a haircut and did I want to come and lurk around the Anthropologie store next door I was all "HELL YAH I DO!" (dude! Anthro!). So there's the hook.
So on our way there Andy pulled the "oh hey, can we stop here? I have to pee" card and dived into a mall entrance. And that would be the Line.
I was all "of course". And I followed him down some step, through some doors and past a few arcade games. I was still pointing to the washroom sign while I did a total double take at my chums shouting SURPRISE. There's the sinker.
I was totally surprised and so happy I almost lost it and howled like a baby right there. But I didn't instead I...
Andy had organised a vintage Americana themed bowling party. The alley was perfect and he roped my very good chum Sarah into balloon decorating duty. And there were animal noses! But most importantly of all there were a bunch of people whom I love. Kicking my ass at bowling.

And here's the man himself, examining the score board.150? Yah, that would be my guy. (Also his hands in this shot make my palms sweaty and my mouth dry. yum.)
And lookit here's my kid, who's score was DOUBLE mine.

After bowling we can home for chili dogs and beers and noisy fun times, then went on to my brother's OWN surprise party. Which was EXTRA fun too.
I know I say I love this city a lot, but I think what I really mean is that I love our lives here and our extraordinary friends and how lucky we are.

Lucky. But not at bowling.

P.S. You guys, I'm really glad that a trip to Anthro is a wear-something-niceish occasion for me. Sure it's dorky but there could have been sweatpants.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What's a good title for a post about boobs?

Cute, but p'rolly not going to cut it

Hokay, to start us off a little boob philosophy.
Firstly of all, I should note that I'll be saying boobs, "the girls" and occasionally breasts; see, I was raised in a strictly NO CUTESY EUPHEMISMS household. No "foofy" "hoo-haa", "pee-pee" or (true story) "lady garden" for the Filby kids. Which means that I'm totally comfortable saying breasts, penis, vagina, et al. but I find the euphemisms hilarious. Particularly boobs. Those two O's are like adorable grammatical slapstick.

Secondly, you know how you feel about your boobs? Have a think... is it all shiny, positive, yay-for-me, happiness? No? More mild dissatisfaction? Well guess what. EVERYBODY I ever measured felt the same way. I mean it, everybody from first-bra tweens to older, sensible-bra'd women and a transgendered woman who had just gotten her ALL NEW boobs. NOBODY was happy with the girls.
To which I say.
YOU GUYS (and also me). KNOCK IT OFF.
You have good breasts.
You do.
They're the only ones you get and they're awesome.
And anybody who says any different better leave NOW.
OK. Are we clear?
Your boobs = great.

Now I've got the crazy harangue out of the way, lets talk a little bit about sizing and measurements. To get your measurements you're going to need...
For step one:
A tape measure.
A mirror.
(optional) a good chum or your sweetie
A bra that you feel comfortable in (not padded or lift-uppy though)
For step two:
The shop with the largest selection of underwear (in your price range) in town.

Step One.
You'll need to whip your shirt off. You can leave everything else on. Though I once had a lady strip completely nekkid. She was mortified when I asked if maybe she'd maybe like to put her pants back on... so yep. You can leave your drawers on.

Now you need to run your tape measure under your boobs. Under where your bra band is sitting. If you need to lift the girls up to do this, do. But keep your arms neutral otherwise. You need to keep your tape measure as straight as possible here (this is where a mirror or a good chum come in handy). Like this (but with YOUR arm down) :

So. My number here is 35, which means that I round UP to 36 (odd numbers always round up to even ones). I actually feel a bit weird and cringey posting my numbers like this. But I am going to suck it up. BECAUSE... It's just a number. It can't hurt me and it doesn't say anything about me other than the bra size I wear. And it's kind of important not to fudge here, no holding your breath and yanking the tape measure. It's the path to no fun-ness. I KNOW this because as a size 42 who couldn't psychologically let myself be anything but a 38 I was really uncomfortable and shopping for new bras was a BRUTAL exercise in self-loathing (sound too dramatic? You should (not) try it.)

Ok. So you have your band measurement. Awesome, because from here on out everything gets ARBITRARY.
and I really can't be emphatic enough about this. Completely ARBITRARY.
Measuring with a tape measure is half-assed-MAYBE-this-will-give-you-a-clue AT BEST. So with that in mind here's where you measure.

Got a number?
Now the (totally arbitrary) way to figure out your cup size is to work out the difference between your band measurement and your breast measurement. And every inch that your boob measurement is larger than your band measurement is a cup size.

On me this measurement is so wrong as to be laughable. My band size is 36" and my breast measurement is 41".So I should be a DD cup. Which would be awesome. but I'm NOT. I wear a B/C cup depending on where I am cycle-wise. A few things can throw this measurement off. A round back (like mine), weight on your armpits (yup, I got that too), broad shoulders, hell, pretty much anything.
So the key is to move on to....

Step Two.
Hit up the lingerie section.
Now what I used to do is bring a woman the same bra in a few different cup sizes. Then we'd start with the smallest and work our way up until we got the fit correct. Also note that depending on your breast shape you should try a few different styles of bra. Balcony bras work better on a small, high rack. And a plunge style works well on a bigger boob, or if your fullness rides to the side.

The first thing you need to do is adjust the straps on the bra you're trying on. Not too loose is the key here BUT the straps shouldn't be gouging your flesh (owwie) and you should be able to jam your fingers t'ween your strap and your shoulder.

Once you've got the bra on the first thing you need to do is make sure you're IN it. Which means
leaning forward a bit. Sticking your hand into your bra between your boob and your bra on the outside, (armpit side) and hoicking the girls forward, then shaking em' like a showgirl.

Now. How are we doing?
1. About that band size; is the band laying horizontal or is it hiking UP at the back? If it's hiking then you need to go down a band size.
2. Where are your underwires? If you lift your arms up and have a look at where your boobs start and your armpits finish, THAT'S where your underwires (or the edge of the cup) should be sitting. The wires (or cup edge) should be laying completely flat to your body all the way around your boob. If they're not then you go up a cup size.
3. How about yer pits? The cup shouldn't be tanglin' with your armpits at all, but if you carry extra flesh there (me! me! I do!) then you need to be careful that you're shaking into your cup properly. Nobody needs their bra to give them another set of under-armpit boobs.
4. Whats going on up top? Are you muffin-topping over the cup? Up a cup size. Are there wrinkles? Down a cup size. Neither working for you? Then try a different style.

So to recap, your perfect fit should be level on the band (the band does most of the support work) it should be smooth on the cup, not muffin-topping anywhere and not wrinkled. Any kind of pinching or horribleness anywhere is a deal breaker..

And lastly if at all possible your underwear should make you feel like "woo! I got's my pretty drawers on today!" which is not to say that sensible is a bad thing; but if you put on a bra and it's super comfortable but you find it so ugly you die a little inside then you need to take it off and keep looking. The Oh well, nobody will see it rule does not apply here. YOU will see it and you're somebody.

Ok. So this post was the length of a novel. And kind of bossy. Good job if you made it all to the way to the end here!
Hit me up in the comments or send me an 'mail if you have any questions.
P.S. If you're looking for a nursing or maternity bra then there's a thing I wrote about that right here.

The chart of arbitrary numbers is from here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In which I fix some tights... and say crotch a bit

Can we talk about underwear for a second? OK? good.
Actually, I'm kind of surprised that we haven't talked about underwear before now... Did you know that I used to be a bra fitter for Marks And Spencer? Yup I did. I've seen more boobs than Ron Jeremy. I was good at it, and it was a useful skill. Hell, I'll measure you up soon as look at you! You know about the double-hoick-lean-forward-and-shake-it rule right?...

(... Wait wait wait... this wasn't supposed to be a post about boobs, but if anybody is interested let me know and we can talk about boobs and bra sizing in detail.)

OK. Back on topic. I wanted to talk about tights. Thick, cottony, only-good-thing-about-winter, tights. I recently bought a few pairs. But I had kind of a problem with them. See, I have quite long legs.Which means that tights do this thing where the crotch (heh "crotch") starts at mid thigh on me but the waistline comes up to my boobs.
Which, you guys, not a good look.
So I figured out a super quick fix. That's actually easier to see than describe.

See? suggestiveness aside, here's what you do...

1. Turn your tights inside out
2. Set your sewing machine to a zig zig stitch.
3. Sew a U shape like THAT. If your tights have a "fully fashioned gusset" (dude, is there a creepier phrase in the world? I think not.) You need to make sure you've got both the front and back fairly even.
4. Snip away the extra.
5.Try finding another polite word for crotch. Fail.
6. Put them on and rejoice in the ability to actually move your legs.
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