Back Up!

So July has turned into a pretty relaxed writing schedule, but we didn’t plan to be quite so relaxed as we were this weekend. Our website suffered a brute force attack and we’re only just now able to access it again.

Instead of writing every day, I’ve been sewing every day. Here’s my sixth attempt at sewing one of my shirts. It’s an inexpensive, super sheer, Swiss dot cotton voile that I thought would require a cami, but my purple Fraulein Annie bra stayed invisible beneath the navy so that I could enjoy the benefits of super light fabric on this hot and humid day.

I skipped the interfacing in the collar and collar stand because the fabric feels more drape-y than tailored, but I think they could use a little help the next time I experiment with light fabric. Also, I only put two (instead of four) waist darts in back because I wanted a more relaxed fit. I’m not sure what I think about the shoulders–would they look better if they angled in a little bit? Regardless, I’m super proud of the armholes because there is NO bra peek-through there.

I’m still waiting for my grader to create the other sizes in my pattern so that I can sew a 2M and 16M to check the specs. Until then, I’ll just keep practicing on more 8M’s. If you’d like one of my upcoming practice 8M’s for the cost of materials and shipping, contact me! Shirt #5 has already been spoken for.

Fresh Breasts: A Summer Sweat Solution for Big Boobs?

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Four months ago, someone mentioned Fresh Breasts on the Big Boob Problems subreddit, and I couldn’t wait to try it. Maybe I did something wrong, but this product didn’t work for me. Here’s a rundown of the two days that I tried it.

Day 1

8:56 AM squeezed a handful of product out of the tube and rubbed it over and under my breasts

9:03 AM top of breasts dry

9:07 AM under breasts still wet

9:12 AM under breasts still wet while sitting at computer; icky feeling

9:20 AM still wet

9:44 AM still really wet

9:59 AM still wet

10:23 AM still moist but powderier

10:58 AM tacky . . . not quite dry

11:32 AM dry-ish

12:12 PM mostly dry

12:40 PM dry (if very slightly tacky)

1:24 PM totally wet again from sweat

Day 2

I decided to use a smaller amount this time and to follow the instructions to “shake well before use” (although it doesn’t feel very effective to shake a tube full of product).

9:40 AM applied product

9:58 AM left breast almost completely dry . . . only slightly tacky in the crease

9:59 AM completely dry left breast; almost dry right breast

10:00 AM right breast completely dry. Sat braless at sewing machine. The area where my breasts rested on my torso felt dry, soft and pleasant.

11:04 AM hot and a little sweaty . . . slightly moist where breasts rested on torso

1:30 PM completely wet after sweeping back porch

The same company makes Fresh Balls, and I get the feeling that a group of guys thought their product could do double duty for women. But this copy from their website makes me think that they just don’t get it:

“Let’s face it, how many more times can you walk into a room and let your boob sweat-soaked shirt make the first impression for you? Boob sweat, or “swoobs,” is a common, and uncomfortable, problem most women have to deal with daily – until now!”

Or maybe I’m the one who isn’t getting it. Do YOUR shirts typically show two sweaty orbs that result in “uncomfortable and awkward arm-crossed encounters”? For me it’s all about underboob sweat, and unless I’m going braless, I don’t get the tell-tale wet crescents showing through my tee shirts. What I get is the gross feeling of sweat trickling between and beneath my breasts, and the helpless realization that my dry bra will soon be drenched. But I never worry about my shirt itself being drenched.

The instructions say to “reapply if needed” and to “wash your hands” after you apply. Given how long it takes this product to dry beneath DD+ breasts, it simply isn’t practical to reapply throughout the day–it’s barely practical to apply after a shower in the morning. And it’s kind of messy. If you don’t wash your hands, they’ll turn white. The same white looks like snow salt stains on your breasts. And yes, it rubs off onto your bra.

If anyone wants the rest of my tube of Fresh Breasts, let me know and I’ll ship it to you (domestically)! And if you have a better experience with this product than I did, we want to hear all about it.

In the meantime, I enjoyed wearing my cotton-lined Fraulein Annie Falling in Love bra all day today without feeling a single trickle of sweat. I’ll give a full review here soon.

Need more help with stay-cool options this summer? Here are some of our past posts on the subject:

Don’t Sweat It

You’ve Lost that Soggy Feeling

Best Breasts Forward: Hot Mama

Big Bust Heat Wave Bras and Strappy Tops

Best Breasts Forward: Sweating Through Summer

Staying Cool

Summertime and the Living is Strappy

 Thanks to commenters on Mia’s last post and Big Boob Problems, here are two more products that I’d like to try:

Monistat Complete Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel

Pure Romance Between the Sheets Powder Spray

Full Bust Find: H&M Summer Dress

It’s finally warm enough to post this find from Ana–the same Ana who found a great H&M peplum top for us in March. Since many of the prints and colors in this year’s iteration of the dress are already sold out, I hope I’m not too late with this information for you. (Thanks to Ana, I gave H&M a try in June and found these scoop neck tees with the sleeve length I like. The medium fit me just right.)

As a reminder, Ana wears a size 34/XS in H&M, and her measurements are: 1.6 m height (5’2″), 91 cm bust (36″), 66 cm under bust (26″), 63 cm waist (25″), 83 cm high hip (33″), 89 cm full hip (35″). Her bra size in most brands is 26FF/28F.

This post is about a style of H&M’s summer dresses that might work for fuller busts. The red H&M dress below is from two years ago; however for the last few years they have released dresses with variations of this cut in numerous colors and patterns. I have also found other similar cuts with short sleeves or with buttons on the front instead of the zipper on the back. All of them have in common the fitted bodice (with princess seams in the front and back) combined with a fuller skirt.

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If I recall correctly the price was 14€, so as one might guess, the fabric is not prime quality. It has no stretch and is very thin, and I imagine it might be a bit see through in lighter colors, but given that this is a summer dress, the fabric being light isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’ve worn this dress a lot and it is starting to show: there are a few stitches coming undone where the straps meet the front of the dress, mostly on the right strap; however given the price point I think it is actually holding up quite well.5

This style features princess seams in the front and in the back as well. It closes with a back zip, has a full skirt and thin adjustable straps. As shown in the pictures, given the placement of the straps the most adequate bra to wear with this dress would be a strapless. I currently don’t own any that fit me well so I usually wear it with a Masquerade plunge called Polka that is almost the same color of the dress. As one can see in the details below, the bra doesn’t show under the armpit but only where the straps meet the cups. This is a common issue for me as most bras in my size usually have the straps quite wide set. The straps of the dress are quite thin so would probably never cover those of a full bust bra completely, but I do wish brands started to make bras with more varied strap placement because with some clothes it would be very useful.

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The main reason I like this dress so much is the fact it fits both my bust and my waist and is not made of a stretchy fabric–this is extremely rare. For the more adventurous with the sewing machine I took pictures of the inside of the bodice where the seams can be more easily seen. For the rest of us that aren’t so handy, one can always look for dresses with a similar seam placement.

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This black dress with white, orange and pink keys is from 2012. It has a similar cut but with buttons at the front and more of a sweetheart neckline. It also made a bit of a point in the centre at the front where the bodice meets the skirt. I was wearing Masquerade’s Rhea in Mulberry underneath and the cups don’t seem to show as much. I returned this one because I wasn’t very keen on the pattern’s colors.

Ana 8

Ana 9

Ana 10

This cat print dress from 2011 is just like the one from 2012 but with sleeves and a higher neckline. The buttons on this one seemed to be pulling a bit.

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This year’s version of this dress has the strap adjusters like my red dress and the one from 2012, buttons in the front like the  cat print from 2011, looks to be made of non-stretch fabric like all the others and has the vertical seams (though they’re hard to see because of the prints). But it seems that this year they decided to remove the seam at the waist, making all seams vertical. It doesn’t have a back view on the website and as of July 1 I couldn’t find it in stores to check that it fits like the ones from previous years.

H and M short dress

I would love to know if someone else has tried these dresses and what has been your own experience with non-stretch garments and H&M clothing.

The Goal is Not Perfection: 3 Thoughts

When I began musing about this subject a couple of months ago, I thought I’d have a perfectly drafted thesis ready for my turn to write. Instead, I have a collection of observations that are only loosely connected by the theme and a deadline that won’t let me procrastinate any further.

A. Every Little Detail

When I saw this woman in front of me the other day, I had to photograph her. Everything about her looked coordinated in a polished way that wasn’t at all matchy-matchy. You can’t tell in this picture, but those are metallic heels . . . that went with the metallic tag on her bag . . . that went with the metallic clasp at her waist (she told me that everyone asks where she found that clasp, but she’s had it for years).

back interest.jpg

Hourglassy used to have a series called “Back Interest”, but we dropped it for lack of reader interest. This gives me some consolation that I’m not the only one who focuses on my front, but this woman really raises the bar for the back!

A friend recently had her own story to share on this subject. A senior executive at her company was wearing a pair of black pants with white panels down each side. Not my friend’s taste, but she didn’t really care. It was only when the executive turned around that my friend saw what made the pants so great: the woman’s butt looked amazing. From that point on my friend vowed to care about her back as much as her front.

I’m afraid I can’t make that vow. I love the idea of a perfect appearance, and even though “the goal is not perfection,” I have this unjustified belief that I will eventually get there. Just not today . . . because I really want to wear gym shoes with my jeans. And no makeup. When it comes to a perfect appearance, whether in front or in back, I seem to have a very long view.

B. Age

More magazine has a feature called “This is What 40/50/60 Looks Like” each month where they showcase an amazing-looking middle-aged woman. I hate it. When we reach 40/50/60, aren’t we at least too old to be pressured to look like someone else? It reminds me of 5-year-old me yearning to be a Breck girl, or 12-year-old me yearning to be a Seventeen model. I love most ideas behind More magazine, but not this one.

breck girl 1

I was furious that my mother couldn’t guarantee I would have hair like this when I grew up.

We all age differently, but there’s pressure to have really cool white hair or bright eyes. Or not to age at all if we can help it. Just the other day my 75-year-old mother-in-law came away from dinner with friends feeling insecure about how old she looked compared to the 63-year-old woman at our table. But my mother-in-law takes really good care of herself and looks amazing! (Fortunately, she had fully recovered by the time we visited her 98-year-old aunt yesterday. This aunt had flaming red hair and was wearing a stylish blouse. She asked MIL when she was going to get that mole removed from her nose. My MIL only shrugged and said that she’s had it all her life–who would recognize her without it?)

Old people get condemned for looking old, and they’re praised if they can meet the standards of the younger generations. But age is permission not to strive for perfection anymore. I’m pleased with my body today, but if I’d had the same body in my 20’s, I wouldn’t have been caught dead showing you the bikinis I reviewed in June. But I’m 49, and no one expects me to look the way I expected myself to look when I was 29. It’s very freeing.

C. Sewing

In May I finished sewing my first ever dress shirt for my husband. Every completed step was a victory. I couldn’t believe it when the yoke materialized, and then the collar, and then the cuffs. I had very high standards: if I thought Mr. Campbell would be ashamed to wear the shirt with a slightly crooked seam, I ripped it out and started over.

Then I took the shirt to my mentor Steve and discovered my standards weren’t high enough. He didn’t care if Mr. Campbell would wear it. The edge of the cuff absolutely could not extend past the placket like this.

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And I had to remove the collar stand and reattach it to the shirt until it lined up perfectly.

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It’s too complicated for me to try to explain everything he noticed and made me fix, but I fixed it.

This past Saturday, I finished sewing my fourth shirt . . . a size 8M Campbell & Kate shirt that I’m really proud of. It’s getting easier, but I’m still ripping out seams and starting over again until I get them right. But that’s what makes the difference in my motivation–I know it’s possible to do things right!

Not perfect. Just right. And sometimes it’s hard to know the difference between the two, isn’t it?