Sunday, December 14, 2014

Making My Wedding Dress: The Wedding Photos

All photos in this post by Mara Page

Nine weeks ago I walked down the aisle on the best day of my life wearing a dress I made myself. It was nothing short of a fairytale and I'm so excited to share the photos with you!

If you followed along while I was making my wedding dress you would have seen the inspirationthe many muslins to get the bodice right, the many muslins to get the skirt right and then me freaking out over the fabric and embellishment for the dress. There were seriously so many facets to making this dress.

The story is I bought this beautiful champagne coloured silk and two different shades of tulle to make the entire dress. I carefully constructed the entire bodice using some couture sewing tips I had picked up from Gertie's bombshell class and from reading through Susan Khalje's Bridal Couture book. Once that was put together I carefully constructed the skirt using the silk and the two layers of tulle. It wasn't until I sewed the entire thing together at the waistline (which believe me, took hours) that I realised I didn't like the bodice. While the fabric was beautiful it was just so simple and plain looking. The fit needed a bit more work and the silk was looking a bit too man-handled. It was pretty but in a very plain and simple way and I wasn't excited to wear it.

So I changed my mind.

Let's be clear that this all happened 5 weeks out from the wedding as I was meant to be finishing the dress, not starting again. As luck would have it I had taken a trip to Tessuti a few weeks prior looking for some special fabric to make myself a little bolero to go with the dress. I talked myself into buying this matte champagne sequin fabric and I'm SO glad. So while I was freaking out over having to start the bodice all over again I was also quietly excited that maybe I could make it out of this fabric and wear sequins on my wedding day.

And wear sequins I did.

There was one weekend in there where I attempted to drape the sequinned fabric and do some kid of tulle overlay but that didn't really work out for me and I could see that as I was working so I scrapped it and started again.

The blur that was the last 4 weekends before the wedding involved me cutting out my pattern pieces in some kind of stable, stretch cotton I used as underlining to get the fit with the stretch right. Then I used my pattern pieces to cut the sequinned fabric out and assemble it altogether. I think I spent somewhere between 30 & 40 hours cutting sequins out of the seam allowances of all 8 bodice pieces before sewing them together. Luckily I was able to take parts of the discarded bodice I had already created and put them into the new one, like the bust cups and padding. I ended up sewing the underlining completely together and the sequinned fabric completely together and laying them over the top of one another before attaching the actual lining which had the boning in it. The verdict on the sequins is that they were stretchier than my underlining and so there wasn't enough negative ease factored in. Then there was the moment where I tried the finished dress on 6 days out from the wedding and the zip broke. This meant I had to go back, unpick the zip, and install a new one but leaving more ease in the bodice so it wouldn't pull on the zip so much. All of the above factors meant that the bodice was not tight enough and so it crinkled and folded on the day. I'd like to say here that at this point in my life I was working with what I had. I LOVED the silhouette and I LOVED the fabrics I had chosen. I wasn't about to let a zip break on my wedding day and ruin this entire year long process. It was about salvaging what I had created and wearing that damn dress on my damn wedding day.

So all that aside I have to say I was ridiculously excited to wear a handmade dress on the day. I don't care about the wrinkles, I don't care if the skirt didn't drape 100% the way it was meant to. I made that thing with my own hands and my imagination and I was so proud I could have burst.

The following video is a stop motion animation of the making of my wedding dress which shows you every step of the construction.

Now for some photos!

We got married in the bush reserve directly behind our house. You can probably just see the peaks of the marquee in the left hand corner in our backyard. We had a our reception in our backyard which we spent more than a year landscaping. It all looked so pretty on the day!

So that's the story of my wedding dress. I never thought I'd be able to say that I'd made it but I can.

It's funny that I had a sewing machine for 4 years before I even attempted using it because I was so afraid. My fear was so overwhelming that even as I started sewing and started this blog I named my blog after my fear. I was literally Scared Stitchless. I've come a long way in 4 years and while my sewing is not perfect I'm really proud of what I've achieved. Also I've learnt something new about myself in this process.

I'm not afraid anymore.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Shoemaking: How I customised my shoe lasts

I mentioned in my first post on shoemaking that I bought myself a pair of shoe lasts in my size (39) to start my adventures in making shoes. I've been thinking about the process all week and one thought that kept popping up was fit. I've reached a point with my sewing where I can't overlook fit issues. If it's obvious to me that something isn't going to sit right and it's within my skill level to change the pattern prior to starting I will always do that. So as I looked through all my materials for shoemaking I began worrying about how my first pair of shoes were going to fit. Here I was with the perfect kit of materials knowing that the end product would be a pair of handmade shoes, in leather no less. So to crack open a comprehensive kit and a leather hide without considering how the end product would be shaped just didn't seem right.

Interesting fact - I have flat feet. I'm double jointed/hypermobile which means I never developed arches in my feet, which in turn means my feet are quite wide. I've noticed that the fabric on the sides of my shoes right beside the sole tend to wear out first because once I've worn shoes a couple of times I stretch them out and the side of the shoe is no longer the side but part of the sole. Knowing this I decided to adjust my shoe lasts to accommodate this extra width before I even touch the kit.

I tried to research customising shoe lasts on the internet before starting this. While I've been busy compiling links and videos and blog posts that talk about shoemaking (more on that later) I haven't actually stumbled across anything that covers customising shoe lasts. So a warning to any of you who might be thinking about making shoes. The below is my process that I made up. I'm not actually sure that it's going to work properly yet but I'm sharing it because it's the only way I can think to customise shoe lasts and I'll explain why I think it's going to work a little later on.

Customising my foot lasts

Tracing and comparing

I started by tracing around the edges of each of my foot lasts and drawing over the line with a Sharpie. I then traced around both my feet and drew over the line with a Sharpie. The above photo shows you why a regular shoe just doesn't work for my foot shape. There are multiple spots where my foot is off or even way off the tracing of the last. These are the areas where my foot generally has fabric beneath it rather than proper soling on all of my ballet flats. Below you can see my foot tracing taped to the bottom of the last so I could visualise where I was going to need extra width.

Building up the last with clay

I knew to customise my lasts I would need to add something to these areas where I can see the tracing extending beyond the foot last. I came across one picture online where a foot last had some cork added to it but since this was a material I hadn't worked with and couldn't easily find in my local art store I took a chance on regular modelling clay. It was $4.95 for this pack you see below and I only used a quarter of it so you won't need much.

I carefully added modelling clay to fill in all the spots where the tracing extended past the last. I had to hold my hand underneath the paper to give it a smooth, firm base to mould the clay against otherwise the sole would have been lumpy and irregular. I smoothed out the clay and tapered it out to nothing just a little way up the last to mimic the shape of my own feet. I deliberately chose not to do anything with the toe shape. Firstly because I like the rounded shape of the last and that's what shaped toe I'll end up with. Also my toes currently fit into size 39's just fine. Accommodating for the extra width of my feet was a much bigger concern than my toes fitting in - because they already do?

Below you can see how much clay I added and how high I brought it up on the last to mimic my foot shape.

Taping the clay down

Once I was happy with the shape of the clay I tore strips of masking tape and taped it all firmly in place. Again I had to have my hand underneath the last keeping a smooth, firm base so the clay wouldn't warp and move around as I was taping. Below you can see what my lasts look like now.

Remeasuring my lasts against my feet

Once I'd finished this I traced the outline of my customised lasts and drew over that with a Sharpie. Below you can see the difference between my left foot, the original left foot last and the new left foot last after customisation. On the right you can see my foot tracing sitting over the top of the customised right shoe last. The difference between this picture below and the picture I started the post with is quite subtle. Below you can see there are points where the edge of my foot meets the edge of the shoe last but there's never a point where the foot tracing extends beyond it. This is exactly what I intended so that I could make my whole shoe wider.

Below you can really see the difference between the left foot tracing sitting over the original left shoe last whereas the right foot tracing is sitting over the customised right foot last. Hopefully this should make for a better fitted shoe.

What does this change?

Unfortunately it changes everything. Now that I have a new sole shape I also have to have a new inner sole shape and I have to redraft the entire pattern for the leather. I debated whether to do all this work at the beginning when I hadn't even made a shoe yet but I feel like it's worth getting right. If you're planning to make shoes for yourself you might not need to do this step at all, particularly if your foot is close to the shape of the last.

My next step is to create a pattern based on the new, customised last. I'll be doing a post on it so you can see the difference in shape between the two patterns.

So this customisation thing, is it going to work?

I've already had this debate in my mind for the last week. Part of me thinks the modelling clay will be too malleable and might shift around as I'm trying to stretch leather over the edges and maybe it will be. However just like during this process where I held my hand beneath the last as I moulded, I will have an insole taped to the bottom of the last. The insole is leather and is covered in another layer of leather so it's quite strong and sturdy. This means that as I stretch the upper leather over the edges of the last, the insole will be pushing back against the clay which means that even if it wants to squish, it won't have anywhere to squish to.

If it all goes pear shaped I'll blog about that too and I'll update this post to reflect any changes that might need to be made but for now I believe in this enough to cut into a brand new leather hide!

I bought an entire hide of this mint green/ice blue colour to make my first pair of ballet flats from. I also bought this natural leather to make a pair of sandals from too. I'm so excited to get started!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Perfect Sun Dress - McCalls 5094

I think I've found my perfect sun dress pattern! I've had this pattern in my stash for a year or two now and I'm so glad I finally got around to sewing it. I struggled with the top part of the pattern purely because I read the envelope wrong. Sigh. If I'd followed it properly straight out of the packet it would have been a dream sew!

Once I'd gotten the top part of the dress sorted the rest of the dress was a breeze. It's a cotton voile fabric lined with cotton voile so it was a super easy sew. I lined the top portion of the dress and I french seamed the skirt panels. Which was great until I sewed the back zipper in and realised that I had no way of french seaming that so I pinked the edges. I was going to sew bias tape to the bottom of the outer fabric and the lining independently so it could still be all swishy but again I'd already sewn that back seam so instead I trimmed both layers really carefully and treated them as one fabric when I sewed bias binding around the hem. So that means my skirt panels have french seams and they're fully enclosed. I guess my skirt is NEVER GOING TO UNRAVEL. I'm glad it all worked out this way though because having both fabrics hemmed together gives the hem a lovely body and the folds of the skirt are just a bit more pronounced which I love.

Words can't describe how much I love the cut out on the back of this dress. It's so simple but I just love it. The pattern actually calls for little straps on the ends of the cut outs and you're meant to tie the straps in a bow but that seemed a little twee for me so seeing as I was already fiddling with extending my pattern pieces I just extended them a little more so I could overlap them. I sewed two snaps on either side to keep this part together and they're pretty easy to do when putting it on (which I worried about for a while as I was putting it together).

As you can see from the photo below I sewed my straps on after. I seem to have a fear of sewing straps in the beginning of putting a dress together. Which might have something to do with ALWAYS having to shorten them. I think I shortened these by about 6 centimetres in the end. And fray stop on the ends of them will do the trick.

I really do love this pattern even though I struggled to get my sizing right after going astray. It's a winner of a pattern and it's so flattering on. Come at me hot weather - I'm ready for you!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Shoemaking: Figuring out how to start

Shoemaking: Figuring out how to start

When I first got into sewing about 4 years ago I got really curious about making my own shoes as well. Surely if you can make your own clothes from scratch with the help of the internet you could fumble your way through making your own shoes right?

I guess I was a little more intimidated by starting because there’s not a lot of information about shoemaking at home. While there are hundreds & thousands of sewing bloggers worldwide with even more people sewing without blogging there just aren’t that many people shoemaking. Or maybe there are and they haven’t got blogs? Or maybe they blog and I just haven’t found them yet? Whatever the case, shoemaking seems to be a lot rarer than sewing.

I’ve come across a number of shoe making courses both in Australia and worldwide which I don’t doubt is probably the best way to learn. However I don’t learn as well in classes as I do when I teach myself things. There’s something about the very public nature of learning and making mistakes in front of other people that just doesn’t work for me. I’d much rather learn and make mistakes by myself where I can take my time to reflect and research and retry things at my own pace.

So where to begin? 

Making shoes from a kit vs making shoes by following a book

Shoe Making Kit

The reason I took the plunge and committed to start making my own shoes is because I stumbled across a link on Pinterest that lead me to this site

It’s a place in London that teaches classes on basic shoemaking and sells kits, lasts and booklets online. This place really seems to understand what it means to teach people a whole new skill from scratch. They’ve got all the materials for sale, you can buy yourself a kit which includes every single thing you need to put together a pair of shoes (except the lasts) and they have booklets with really clear instructions which are accompanied by colour photographs outlining each step. The look of their website, their products and their booklets is very fresh and modern. The kits and the booklets are clearly aimed at someone who has never ventured into shoemaking and could either be there in their studio learning or doing the same thing from home. I bought the kit, the booklet on making ballet flats and the booklet on making sandals. I would have bought my lasts from the same place but the shipping was going to cost more than the actual lasts so I didn’t.

After reading the booklet you can tell this is the absolute simplest way to make a pair of shoes and takes away all the fear of beginning. The perfect start! It has you making shoes from leather so you can simply cut away the edges and they won’t fray. It only asks you to sew one seam on the lining and one seam on the outer fabric so this can be done without a sewing machine if necessary which makes this kit even more accessible.

Following a book

This website was not the initial inspiration for making my own shoes though. Four years ago when I started researching this idea I happened across this book Make Your Own Shoes by Mary Wales Loomis at and bought it. Mary wanted to make her own shoes at home and since she had very little information on the subject she researched shoemaking the best way she knew how - from shoes. She cut up some of her older shoes and inspected each part. She sourced materials wherever she could and she spoke to her local cobbler whenever she couldn’t find what she was looking for. She also didn’t stop at flat shoes. She was keen to make heels or high heels (read: pumps if you’re not Australian?) as well so she cut them open and sourced materials for making her own heels.

What I loved most about this book is that it’s all done with what she can find. She sacrificed a pair of shoes so she could make a plaster of paris shoe last and experimented with different fabrics and stiffeners on the shoe upper until she had the process down pat. As a result this book is much more detailed. It requires you to stitch and understitch your layers, it has you hand stitching the layers under the shoes together really tightly before gluing and it talks about different fabrics to use and what linings and stiffeners might be appropriate for each choice.

Figuring out how to start

I love the idea of both of these methods. I bought the kit because I wanted a little hand holding on my first pair and now that I know they’re made with leather I don’t have to worry about much sewing. I can dive straight in and have a custom made pair of shoes in no time. Instant-ish gratification!

So my first pair will be made solely from the materials from the kit and following the booklet  on making ballet pumps to the letter. I think it will be a fun and easy way to ease myself into shoe making.

For my second pair I’m going to put all that aside and go with the book. I’ll choose a fabric instead of a leather, I’ll use appropriate linings and stiffeners as per the book’s suggestions and I’ll be sewing some of it on my machine and some of it by hand as suggested.

I’m interested to see which process is better for me. I suspect I’m going to like the one with all the sewing better because I feel like its going to produce a more professional shoe but on the other hand all the materials come with the kit so it’s going to end up looking and feeling pretty professional too. Time will tell!

Also I'll be trying out making my own sandals. And somewhere along the line I will customise my shoe lasts so I can make shoes that really fit my feet.

What materials have I got so far and where did I source them?
Shoe Making Kit - £39.95 
Ballet Flats Booklet - £12.50 
Simple Sandals Booklet -  £8.50 
Extra shoe glue x 2 - £
£10 postage
Total Australian = $148

Shoe lasts - $45 American + $22 American postage
Total Australian = $80

Make Your Own Shoes - $39.95 American
Total Australian = $45

I haven’t yet bought leather for my first pair of shoes and I also don’t have all the materials for my second pair of shoes yet but I’ll be including an expenses list for each pair of shoes I make. I suspect making shoes from the book will result in a cheaper pair of shoes but I’m yet to really test that theory.

I’ll be making my first pair of shoes in the next couple of weeks so I’ll report back on the process in a detailed post or you can watch the process on instagram.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Black Pencil Skirt

Worn here with my Belcarra in Black Crepe
Sometimes you just need to drop everything and sew yourself a black pencil skirt. Fortunately when this thought struck me I found a black drill in my stash and the skirt portion of a pattern I'd already used and I was on my way.

To be honest I'm not sure what possessed me to do this considering I'm pear shaped and fitting the lower part of my body usually ends in tears. I've been getting away with making skirts for a couple of years now, ignoring the usual pull lines that appear and hoping it will disappear if I use a different fabric next time. Or just hoping that no-one will notice.

In the middle of the madness of sewing my own wedding dress I committed to sewing myself a dress for my Hen's Night & the Sydney Frocktails event. They were within a week of each other so it made sense to kill two birds with one stone. Plus it was 4 weeks out from the wedding - what could go wrong?

The answer is lots. I made my Frocktails dress with Blue Ginger Doll's Billie Jean pattern only I chose to do the pencil skirt option. Now the pattern itself is great and I loved the end result but I actually couldn't have chosen a worse pattern for my body type. Long story short after doing a small bust adjustment and millions of fittings of the top portion and a full butt adjustment on the back portion of the skirt pieces and millions of fittings of the bottom portion, not to mention working with a fabric that had slight stretch so required a bit of negative ease I was DONE with this pattern. Like I said, I loved the end product but I really didn't need all that stress in the middle of sewing my wedding dress. Ugh.

Anyway the point of me telling you that is that something good came out of that week or so of fitting angst. I ended up with a pretty well fitting pencil skirt pattern - huzzah! Now don't get too excited. It still has a few wrinkles here and there that I have to diagnose and fix on my next version but my pattern pieces are oh-so-close to being "me" shaped.

You can see from the side that I managed to get the fabric to drop in a straight line from the end of the zipper down which was already a win. There are still a few wrinkles sitting on my hips there which point near the darts but otherwise the fit is spot on.

You can see from my poor pattern piece that I hacked away at it to open it up beneath the dart and again across the fullest part of my hips. This time around I even widened and deepened the dart which helped a little but didn't entirely fix the problem.

Overall I'm happy with this skirt and the fit is as close as my current skills and knowledge allows. If you have any tips that might help let me know because I'm very keen to have the perfect fitting pencil skirt.

I'm heading to my first Sydney Social Sewing day tomorrow and I can't wait! It's so great to have found such a lovely group of stitchers and I hope it becomes a regular thing.

I'll leave you with a quote I read earlier in the week.

People who care find others who care and they all end up caring about something even more than they did before they met - Seth Godin. If that's not our sewing community then I don't know what is.

Happy weekend!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hummingbird Belcarra

I'm back again. This time with a Sewaholic Belcarra blouse made from this great Hummingbird Crepe de Chine I picked up at Spotlight last year. I went back to my original post on planning my handmade wardrobe to see what I originally bought the fabric for. Apparently it was going to be a Deer & Doe Datura. So glad it turned into a Belcarra though. The fabric is perfect for this pattern.

I made my first version of this pattern last year in a black crepe also from Spotlight. It has been the perfect wardrobe filler and I loved the drape of the fabric. Even though my measurements sit pretty squarely in a size 10 I found my first version in a size 10 to be too roomy for my taste. This time I sized down to an 8. Luckily for me Sewaholic patterns are all about pear shaped bodies so I didn't even need to worry about getting the size 8 to sit nicely on my hips. It was already drafted that way.

I did find it super annoying that my bra straps were constantly on show with the first version and I know it's not the fabric. It's definitely the pattern. Luckily it's an easy fix so I was able to grade the neckline portion of my sleeve pieces out to 1cm directly across my shoulders. I can see why this might not have been something that Sewaholic were keen to change about the pattern before releasing it. Once I'd graded the pieces and tried it on I found the neckline quite square-ish. Luckily once you sew your neckline seam it smooths it out so it's more of a curve. It doesn't look quite as flattering as the photo shoot pictures on their website but it's close enough and now I don't have to adjust the top constantly so I'm good with that.

Worn here with my Teal Green Kelly Skirt
I french seamed the entire top and folded the hem up and stitched it. The only thing I bungled up was the neckline. I remembered having trouble with it last time so I tried to outsmart the pattern. I treated the neckline bias cut piece like bias tape and topstitched it down only to find the whole neckline gaping. I ended up folding the neckline over itself and topstitching it down again. Which kind of saved the day although it's a bit dodgy looking in some parts. Note to self. Just Follow The Damn Pattern.

I really love the drape and simple lines of this top and I'll be making a few more before the summer's out. It's a really wearable top and easy to dress up and down.

In other news I got a pegboard in my sewing room and I'm in LOVE. I'm really good at returning my things to their designated spot now. I can find things in my sewing room. Hooray!

I'll leave you with a blurry outtake of what happens when you try to take a photo with a Dalmation puppy.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Singlets Galore!

Hi again!

I'm back again with a brand new (to me) pattern which I'm certain has made it into my small collection of TNT's. This is the Baseball Singlet by Measure Twice Cut Once. 

I've been wearing the same RTW singlet tops for somewhere between 5 and 6 years now and it's really time to lay them all to rest. While I've been wanting to sew singlet tops for ages I hadn't managed to come across a simple pattern that looked flattering enough. Enter the Baseball Singlet. It's part of Measure Twice Cut Once's Basics Collection which is just an all round awesome idea. Basics are things we all really want to sew but either never get around to or can't find basic and flattering patterns for. This pattern ticks all the boxes. Also I've hung out with Susan a bunch of times now and she's awesome so of course I had to buy one of her patterns!

I've been struggling with inspiration overload post-wedding-dress-sewing. I'm itching to sew every day and my list of things to sew is the longest it's ever been. It's as if I'm trying to make up for the lost time I spent working on only one project. I've partly combatted this by planning out a summer wardrobe and keeping tabs of it on a chalkboard in my sewing room. So I know that these tops will go with my future shorts and skirts that are coming up soon in my sewing queue.

So the pattern. I printed off the all sizes option because I'm pear shaped and always have to grade between sizes. It was so satisfying to only have around 10 pieces of paper to tape together before getting on with the sewing! My measurements fell pretty neatly into a size 10 at the bust, size 14 at the waist and size 14 at the hip. I graded the pattern before making a muslin and sliced a bit off the sides of the bust on my pattern as I fell more into a size 9 once I'd tried it on.

I had a bit of a head scratching moment when it came to finish the edges because I hadn't thought that far so I actually read the instructions. Lo and behold it told me I could fold over 1cm and stretch stitch it down. Stretch stitch? Excuse me? A stitch for stretch fabric that no one told me about or mentioned? Gobsmacked I stared my machine down to realise that straight stitch was number 00 and stretch stitch was number 01. For real. 

So I did what the instructions said and turned it over 1cm and stretch stitched it down. 

And. It. Was. Perfect. 

I can't believe I've been sewing for 4 years and not come across this before. It's times like this I really wish I didn't have such large gaps in my sewing knowledge. I don't know what I don't know so I don't know what I need to learn. 

Of course I was so excited I cut out 5 of these and started sewing them immediately. I chose Cotton Jersey in 4 different colours and a print but they're all slightly different weights and quality. I tried each of them on after overlocking the seams so I could check the fit. Sure enough two of them were fine from the pattern and two of them were too big so I marked them with chalk and sewed them up a bit tighter. Then I stretch stitched all their edges.

So let's talk about this magical stretch stitch. If you try it on a stable Cotton Jersey it's going to feel like the clouds are parting and the sun is shining directly down on your machine as you sew. You pull on the fabric and the stitches just stretch themselves out to accommodate all dreamy-like. However if you deign to put a lightweight Cotton jersey under the needle for stretch stitching it is going to turn your machine into a jersey eating monster. My white and black versions didn't survive stretch stitch unscathed. They're still wearable because, let's face it, the thing fits and looks good on and nobody but my spoolettes are going to peek closely at my stitching. So I'm good.

In terms of the pattern I found the scoopy bit at the bottom way too long so I chopped it off. I'm 5"2 and it looked more like a tunic. I initially cut the pattern to the bottom notch which is the end of your side seam. After trying on the muslin I decided to make it 2 centimetres longer so I wrote it on my pattern to remind myself for next time. I like my singlet tops long because I tell myself it makes me look taller. Also it's helpful when wearing them with jeans for when your bending and moving about - they still overlap the top of your jeans for maximum coverage - if you know what I mean.

Now let's talk about this type of finish. I'm not fussy with the finish on my jersey garments. I've made many a Jersey thing I haven't hemmed because. Well because. So knowing that I could just turn and stitch was awesome for me. If you have a look at the insides you'll see that the edges curl up a bit. This isn't noticeable when you're wearing it but if you're fussy about finishing on jersey you're probably going to want to bind your edges. Which is way more work but would probably look a whole lot more profesh than what I've got. But I sewed these all up in one weekend. So I'm good.

FYI the back looks pretty great too.

I'll definitely be making more of these but next time I'll be scouting around for good quality, good weight cotton jersey so I can make singlet tops that will last as long as my old RTW ones. 

I'll leave you with a picture of me looking pretty smug about my new collection of tops.