Friday, May 28, 2010

Miriam's Trouser Trick

Expanding a Waistband

Do you have a favourite pair of trousers that are in perfectly good condition but your waist has expanded whilst the trousers have not? Miriam showed me a nifty way to remedy this. The trick will work on a skirt as well.

1. Carefully unpick the side seams a little bit further than the area you need to increase. Fold under and press raw edges.

2. Pin a length of colour-matched wide elastic or stretch fabric down the extent of the opening, leaving about 15mm poking out at the waistband edge. Fold this top edge down, and tack all seams. Top-stitch close to the edge.

3. Miriam's trousers have side tabs which help make the finished garment look like it was
designed to be that way, but Miriam said her jumpers usually hide the insert. If you want the top of your elastic covered, make up some tabs yourself out of coordinating or contrasting fabric. Self-fabric tabs could be made by removing a portion of the trouser cuffs.

Thanks, Miriam!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Caring for Your Bras

I apologize for not being able to give a byline for the following article. I neglected to make a note of where I found it. There are many web-tips on caring for your bras. The following is one company's opinion, supplemented by BoutiqueNarelle illustrations.


The ideal way to wash a bra is to hand wash with our gentle Essential Wash designed for delicates and then lay flat to dry. Since most of us do not have that kind of time the recommendation is to machine wash in a lingerie bag in cold water using a gentle cycle. The cool water shocks the elastic, helping the bra retain its stretch and shape. Clasp the back of the band before placing into lingerie bag. Do NOT wash in warm or hot water as this will shrink the cotton felt that is sewn in as the underwire casing and the underwires may pop out. Do NOT use chlorinating agents or harsh detergents as it will break down the elasticity in the bra. Do NOT use woolite - it is made for natural fibers - wool - and not recommended for synthetic fibers. We recommend you wash all your intimates first before wearing.


Smooth out cups and lay flat to dry. Do not hang wet bras by straps as this will strain the fabric and cause the straps to lose elasticity. NEVER place bra in dryer. Heat breaks down synthetic fabrics such as the ones found in EBW products: microfiber, lycra and spandex and dramatically reduces the life span of a bra. The dryer actually cooks any residual soap left in the bra's fibers. This causes loss of firmness, which cannot be regained.


Rotate bras - every day. One day of rest for every day of wear. Bras relax with the warmth of the body and will lose firmness if worn everyday. A bra can be worn 3-4 times in between washings to help extend its shelf life. The more you wash a fabric, the sooner it breaks down and loses firmness and support. Start on the first hook placement and move in as needed. If cared for properly, a bra should last up to one year of wear.

Author's recommended storage method for bras


Store your bras flat, or standing one in front of the other. DO NOT press one cup into the other cup to condense for wash or storing garment. By inverting the molded cup it is compromising the integrity of the mold and will cause the fabric to ripple after repeated incidents. It is best to wash and store bras flat in your drawer or on a shelf for the bra to live its longest life. The molded cups do place on top of one another nicely and can be stacked or lined up along side of one another as well.

Not everybody has huge closet space for laying out delicate items. Above and below are 2 storage options I have found to be suitable for my needs.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bra Has Fit in Dressing Room

Or, What I didn't know about getting the right bra size.

Now and then I enjoy an online chat with my sisters. A recent one turned into a deep-and-meaningful about brassieres, and Sarah and I laughed so hard our tummies ached. I was telling a story that I'm sure many of you will relate to, so here it is again for your benefit.

Sarah and I were swapping vital statistics to assist with wardrobe-sharing urges now that our sizes are similar (which they most certainly weren't during the teens and early twenties), and Sarah felt the need to check that I understood what the letter and numeral designations on bra tags mean.

"The letter is for the bust size. The number is for the frame size," she said.

I admitted, "I reached my 21st birthday and didn't know about cup size." Readers, please understand that I was a homeschooler in a small rural town who pretty much raised herself where girly matters are concerned.

The story begins with a list I compiled in response to friends and family members wondering what to get for the big event. I called it My Exotic Desires list. On the list distributed to female friends was: Luscious underwear, i.e. Bendon.

Urban dwellers Monique and Stacey phoned my mother to ask what bra size I wore, so she sneaked into my bedroom to peek in my top drawer. She pulled out a bra and told the girls what they needed to know. Unfortunately, I didn't wear that bra because it was too big.

Don't take the word of a tag! Get the garment properly fitted.

The girls bought me a luscious, lacey Bendon thing with puff pads, beautifully exotic compared to my heretofore cheap and simple under things. The girls did insist at the time that I should tell them if it didn't fit so they could get a replacement, but I didn't know enough to be able to figure out that it didn't fit. I thought it would do.

I started on the tightest hook, so after a few launderings my whole world shifted when I shrugged, and the puff pads were never puffy enough to get rid of the puckering in the lace. I felt way less than exotic and another bra was retired to Unwearableland.

I was well into my 20s before I got up the courage to accept the assistance of a trained whosimawhatsit in my cubicle at Farmers* and let her find me the right fit. I was so relieved that I did.

*Farmers is a department store.

Actually, I hadn't known that Farmers offered such a service. I didn't know the girls attendant on the dressing rooms did more than take what you didn't want and hang it back up. I think a girl did ask me once if I wanted any help - - - - HORRORS, NO!!! But this lady inserted herself behind my curtain before I could say no, and soon I had the missing keys to my exotic experience.

To demonstrate what she showed me, let's try on a bra sized 14B.

Fasten the bra on the middle hook, allowing for the bra to stretch or for you to gain weight. If it's tight around your torso rather than firm, try a size 16. If it's loose, try a size 12.

Once the hooks are secured, lean forward slightly and gently lift the top of each breast so it fits properly into the cup. When you stand upright, if the cup fabric is puckered, you need to try an A cup. If your breast is bulging out of the cup, you need to try a C cup.

Tighten the straps until firm, not digging into your shoulders. It's not unusual for your two sides to differ from each other. I.e. you may need to tighten one strap more than the other.

Check that when you move your arms forward and across your body that the edge of the cup doesn't rub or pinch at your armpit. If it does, you may need a shallower cup.

Underwire bras need additional attention to cup setting. Shrug and breath deeply. Check the comfort of the cup connector tab and that you're not being poked by the underwires either in the centre or the outside of the cups. If you're wide-set, you may need a loose cup connector tab (usually a short strip of ribbon) rather than the more common fixed cup setting. Choose an underwire style with a width that matches yours.

Each time you put on your bra, check that the fit is still appropriate. Laundering and wear stretch the delicate fabric and alter strap length. Your comfort and health is paramount, so pay attention to your body's needs and the condition of your underwear.

After all this, did you know you don't HAVE to wear a bra? That doing so can in fact be a serious health issue? I was astonished some years ago when a health professional advised me against wearing one. I tried it out, and my comfort and peace of mind were manifoldly increased.

Check this out:

In the 7 or so years that I haven't worn a standard bra, I've found other options to maintain modesty and a smooth shape, especially under knit fabrics. The end of the bra-free article (above link) includes a list of such options.

Next week: brassiere laundering and storage tips.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Kate was an energetic, hard-working woman. Her every-day appearance consisted of dark-coloured leggings, a loose shirt, and an extremely short haircut. Her one nod to femininity was super-sized dangly earrings, and if she was dressing for a special occasion, her loose shirt became a shiny loose shirt.

When Kate had a baby girl, I watched as she delighted in dressing little Mary-Dee in everything feminine and frilly. For several years, Mary-Dee flitted around in her dainty dresses, until one day she refused to wear them any more. A frustrated Kate told me, "All she'll wear now is leggings and t-shirts. I don't understand it."

I understood. Mary-Dee wanted to look like her mummy.

I have heard other mothers express puzzlement on this topic. Why won't their daughters wear the feminine things they provide for them? The answer is this: like mother, like daughter.

Children learn to be adult by copying the adults around them. Watch little girls at play. You can be sure they will be imitating adult behaviour and speech.

You may be 13, 30, or 60, but if you are in the position of having younger eyes look up to you, you hold a responsibility to provide them with a godly model to copy.

Simplicity announces:
Girls get their own version of this season’s ladylike look, perfectly pretty!
Pattern # 2683.

Whether you are 13, 30, or 60, if you are looking up to others as examples to imitate, check that they are worthwhile models. Is their character, speech, and appearance worthy of multiplication? If it is not, become the godly example yourself.
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