Off the Rack ~ Curve Expo Spring/Summer 2018 Part I: Fortnight and Impish Lee

It’s time for the semi-annual Curve Show roundup! For Spring/Summer 2018, I mostly checked in with our usual favorites, but I also stumbled upon a couple brands I’ve not covered before, which I’ll be sharing in this post.

First up, some great news from Fortnight! A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to try one of their Luna bralettes on a trip to Portland, Maine, but the largest size was still one cup too small for me. When I emailed Fortnight later, they told me there had been so much consumer demand for larger cups that they were planning on introducing bigger cups—and with the SS18 collection, they finally have! The “Luna” longline will be available in G-cups.

Unfortunately, that’s an American G, which is only a UK FF, and the new G cups will only be available for 30 and 32 bands. But at least it’s some progress. Perhaps if it sells well enough, they’ll keep expanding.

The Fortnight reps I spoke with were very excited to explain that the brand wasn’t created with a specific body niche in mind, so every item is engineered to its individual size. As such, the gore height will vary depending on the size, going higher with larger cups, and some sizes will include interior side-slings for more support. Additionally, they’ve added sizes XL and XXL to all their slips and bodysuits (which previously only came in S, M, L).

For all the extended sizes, plus-size model Candace Huffine (who’s on the May 2017 cover of Elle magazine) collaborated with Fortnight to ensure great fit, and she features prominently in the new collection’s marketing materials. She also helped design the inkblot leopard print that runs through the collection (see below). Here are the two new Luna colorways, which are pretty yet still true to Fortnight’s minimalist, slightly androgynous aesthetic:

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Next up is Impish Lee, a brand I’ve seen making its way through the blogosphere but never paid that close attention to. Started as an Etsy shop by sisters Kali and Noelle, Impish Lee has expanded to an amazingly designed website and are now seeking brick-and-mortar distribution (hence why they were at Curve). [Read more…]

My Ewa Michalak Conversion at Levana Bratique (Preaching to the Full Bust Choir)

Leah and I have very different bra-shopping styles. She’s happy hunting down online bargains and returning what doesn’t fit, while I’m happiest in a brick and mortar dressing room.  My only exception is a bra that is only available online. And my only exception to the exception has been Ewa Michalak.

My full-busted friends’ declarations of love for the brand have failed to move me for years. Purchasing a bra from EM seemed like a long distance relationship too difficult to begin let alone maintain: (1) all those styles with confusing letters; (2) stories of inconsistent sizing; (3) international shipping and returns; and (4) language challenges. I decided not to get involved.

Then at a dinner after Curve last February, I sat next to Judy Masucci, the owner of a lingerie store in Pittsburgh, who happened to mention that she stocks Ewa Michalak. My ears perked up immediately–not because I wanted to purchase an EM bra, but because this signaled that Judy was a member of the busty bra cognoscenti. Last week I drove 6.5 hours to her store to have a pop up shop for my shirts and finally to try EM bras in a brick and mortar dressing room.

In all but two bra styles, I wore a 75G. The two exceptions were the Pantera and the Karmnik Biszkopty. The former tends to run bigger in the cup, so I needed a 75FF. In the latter (a plunge nursing bra that Ewa created as a regular plunge bra just for Judy’s customers), I needed a 75GG to keep from spilling into the center.

How very satisfying it was to watch Judy and her assistant pull all these EM soft cup bras out of one drawer for me to try in a single afternoon.

Ewa drawer in my size unpadded

It was even more satisfying to discover the semi-soft Gladzioch bra. I adore the simplicity of a beige seamed bra, and the stiff base is an added bonus. I’m used to “semi-soft” meaning padding on the bottom, but the Gladzioch base seems to be created from a laminate that keeps it from being bulky. This is countered by the stretchy tulle panels along the top of the cups. I happily purchased this bra. [Read more…]

Mandarin Shirt Sew-a-Long: Day 5

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Find the rest of the Sew-a-Long series here!

Finally – the end is in sight! Once you are finished, don’t forget to share a photo of your finished Mandarin Shirt in the Jailyn Apparel Flickr Group!

For this step you will need:

  • Mandarin pattern instructions
  • Your personal, adjusted Mandarin pattern
  • Final garment fabric, recommended is shirting with 2-3% Spandex. I discussed options and which fabric I chose in the intro post
  • Interfacing (1 1/4 yards)
  • OPTIONAL: Pellon ShirTailor Interfacing for the collar (1/4 yard should be enough). I used this and found it helped my collar stay nice and stiff!
  • Notions (matching thread, buttons, etc)
  • Iron + Ironing board

Since you have already assembled a preliminary version of your Mandarin top, this part should be quite easy! I found it went much more quickly than my muslin did and I felt more confident assembling it.

One thing I really loved were all of the instructions regarding finishing work. The Mandarin instructions include all of the small steps to do along the way in order to create a shirt that looks incredible inside AND out! I mean, just look at these seams!

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Truly no detail is overlooked. I usually cringe at the inside of me-made garments because they look SO homemade. But the Mandarin, apart from my slightly crooked seams, I think could pass as store-bought! It is the nicest-looking garment I have ever made (and I made my own wedding dress)!

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Are there mistakes? Definitely. My tailoring skills need work! I wouldn’t want to go up against Darlene in a shirt making competition, that’s for sure 🙂 But for my first try, I am QUITE pleased.

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Small fitting note: Remember the last, final adjustment I made to my fitting muslin? I took in the side of the top bodice and bicep of the sleeve just a bit. I opted not to make this adjustment on my final garment, as I thought it looked fine without it and I didn’t want it to be too tight across the bust. After seeing these photos though, I’ll probably go back and take it in. It would make the fit closer to that of the other Mandarins I’ve seen in the Flickr group, as well as alleviate some of the bagginess in the back! What do you think?

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I was surprised at how much I LOVE pairing this top with my denim vest! I love the vibe, and the contrasting collar shapes are super fun to show off. I am excited to find more ways to work this into my weekly wardrobe rotation! (On a completely unrelated note: am I the only person who struggles to know what to do with skinnies+booties? Cuff them? Tuck them in?? I can never decide and now that ankle flashing is making me doubt my decision. Haha!)

I thoroughly enjoyed the process of making this top. I already have plans to sew up a formal version for a fancy work event I’ll be attending with my husband this fall! And I think a gingham casual version would be so much fun. The Mandarin pattern from Jailyn Apparel is a quality piece. Jodi’s tutorial leaves nothing out – it is quite thorough and easy to understand. And as you can see, following the tutorial results in a beautifully tailored, exquisitely finished top that fits you like a glove. It is a pattern worth owning!

Off the Rack ~ Sugar Candy Everyday Fuller Bust Seamless Bra

Yesterday, Darlene reviewed the Sugar Candy bra in size Medium. Today, I’m reviewing it in XS and Small. Click here to start with Darlene’s post.

Just like Darlene, I was initially a bit skeptical of the Sugar Candy bra’s claims. But also like her, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I love it!

I’m currently wearing UK 28GG or 30G in most brands, which the Sugar Candy size chart puts at size XS. But I was doubtful that the smallest possible size would really be right for me, so they sent me two sizes to try.

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Turns out I was correct, and the XS was significantly too small, with quad-boob, escaping tissue at the armpits, and a very low neckline.

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