While in Barcelona, I had the opportunity to visit two great fabric stores, Ribes and Casals and Nunoya. Both stores are in walking distance from each other in the L’Eixample district.
Ribes and Casals is a sewist’s dream… You walk into roll after roll of beautiful fabric from floor to ceiling. I was drooling. The place was super busy with so many people buying materials for projects that I can’t even begin to imagine. There is basement level as well with all sorts of notions and findings. This is a bustling store but the service was wonderful and I was able to find some great fabrics for summer sewing.
About Ribes and Casals: Founded in 1933, by Joan Ribes Daura and Joan Casals Alabau. Ribes and Casals has 5 stores across Spain including Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Palma de Mallorca and Malaga. They carry a large collection of fabrics which they categorize as fashion, home apparel, carnival, dance costumes, flamenco, crafts, and children’s fabrics.
Carrer de Roger de Lluria, 7
08010 Barcelona, Spain
Nunoya, seriously what an awesome store! I wanted everything in there! Absolutely everything. It was just so cool. This store is much smaller than Ribes and Casals but the quality and beauty of the fabric is top notch. They were also just very kind and helpful!
Nunoya is a Japanese, European, and American fabric store with high quality fabric in a variety of prints. Now that may sound silly that I’m visiting a Japanese fabric store while visiting Spain but this store cannot be missed. Check out the picture below and the fabrics I ended up taking home with me.
Fabrics: Echino Bee Geometric Silver Metallic and Nani Iro Fuccra Rakuen – St. Moritz (Double Guaze)
Sewing up a bra for the first time always seemed so complicated to me. Then I got to chatting with my sewing pal Helen and discovered that she was also a bit intimidated by the idea. We knew we wanted to sew one up eventually but had not committed to it so Helen being awesome and proactive said “Let’s have a bra sewalong!”
I have never sewn anything with anyone before except for school projects so I was all for it! I’ve always wanted a sewing buddy and Helen couldn’t be more perfect to fit the bill! Now if only that pesky Atlantic Ocean wasn’t between us! Luckily, IG made it easy for us to send photos and messages and have a sense of collaboration despite the time zone difference. Helen is also just so wonderful to chat with that it doesn’t even feel like she’s that far away anyway!
We already had a few projects in the queue and I was about to go on a two-week vacation so we decided to start at the beginning on June. We went with the Florence bra by Seamwork since we both have it. Unfortunately, things got pushed back about two weeks into June because I had unbearable jet lag and was struggling to figure out what supplies to buy. Ultimately, I went with all black because I really wanted to start and I knew I would love black either way.
We approached our sewalong by completing one step each day and sending each other pictures and updates the next day. This worked out pretty well for us as we were able to brainstorm together when my mornings and Helen’s evenings overlapped. It was also great to get tips from each other on things that worked and didn’t work.
Sizing & Straps
As for the Florence pattern, I didn’t have any issues with it luckily. I cut out an XS for the band and a M for the cup. The pieces were easy to put together and cut out. That made me really happy! Then I had to conquer the straps and sliders. This was a first for me and of course I was like … wait, how?? I struggled with looping the strap back into the slider as it didn’t seem it would fit. I eventually found a way to do it and now I look at it and think “What was so scary about that?” 😉
Next step: Sew up the cups
I used a wide zigzag stitch and it turned out pretty well. Everything was still coming together nicely and in a timely manner. So I moved onto attaching the straps to the cups and thank goodness for our sewalong because Helen warned me that the top portion of the cup that attaches to the strap pops out if you don’t tuck it in as you are sewing. With that in mind, I was able to sew it up without a hitch.
Although, once I saw how the straps attached to the cup I wasn’t convinced that the fit would look right. The strap seemed like it would pull the cup away from the body and towards the arm. I moved forward anyway since I wouldn’t really know until I attach the cups to the band and try it on.
The next day, I attached the cups to the band starting from the side to the center front. I carefully pinned them so I could make sure the points met in the center. At this point the bra was practically done. I just needed to sew up the back seam of the band, attach the straps to the back and sew elastic around the bottom of the band. I really wanted to try it on so I sewed up the back seam and attached the straps but left the elastic for the following day.
Yay! I was almost done and I finally got to try it on. I was really hoping I would love it and want to wear it all the time. Once I tried it on all my fears were eased. It fit just right and it looked so pretty. I’ve been dreaming of having a pretty lace bralette and I finally had one! I didn’t want to get too excited since I still had to attach the elastic band and that could ruin everything… haha.
The following afternoon I sat down and carefully attached the elastic. There was no way I was going to let the final step of my bra making ruin this for me! Everything looked fine, things were going smoothly and sure enough I was done!
Now, for the final fit test!
Drum roll please! I’m sure you guessed it by now but IT FIT! I was very pleased and honestly now I want to sew up a whole bunch more lingerie. It’s just so beautiful and dainty and fun!
If you want more bra fun check out Helen’s Florence bra here! It is bursting with color and she is so thorough in her description of her experience it is definitely a must read for anyone looking to sew up Florence or any bra for that matter. 🙂
As my husband and I were getting ready for big trip to Europe I realized I was sewing up a bunch of pieces for myself and nothing for him. He didn’t notice this at all so when I told him I wanted to sew up a shirt for him to wear on our trip he was pleasantly surprised. I showed him a few shirts that I thought he would like and ultimately he went for Seamwork’s Eugene Henley.
Off to Fabric Planet we went as we always do together but this time he was the one picking out fabric and buttons and twill tape for his very own shirt. It was really quite fun! 🙂
He picked out a navy blue and burgundy cotton jersey knit, with tortoise shell buttons and contrasting twill tape in a natural tone. It all looked great together and we were both very pleased.
We only had about two and a half weeks before our trip and I had one last piece that I was finishing up for myself then I was going to dedicate myself to sewing up his Henley. I took this one slow because I so desperately wanted it to turn out perfectly. The problem that it posed ultimately was the fabric was a little slicker then I realized so sewing up the placket took several attempts and I was running out of time. If it wasn’t the stripes being sewn on a little off it was the main fabric rippling at the bottom corners of the placket. After a few attempts I got the stripes to line up and I removed most of the drape problem although I can still see it. 😉
I sewed on the buttonholes and buttons faster than I anticipated I could and hemmed the shirt bottom. We were ready to go! All he had to do was try it on. I pointed out the errors I had made to him as I always do but he said it looked incredible and he didn’t even notice. He then tried on the shirt and what do ya know it looked pretty good! He was happy. I was happy. All we had to do was pack…but that’s for another time. Check out pictures of him in Barcelona in his new Henley shirt!