Saturday, June 29, 2013

Picture Tutorial: How to take in a loose upper section of a bra [Guest Post]

Redditor MsMandrakeRoot recently posted up this great tutorial on ABraThatFits on how to fix loose lace in the upper portion of bra cups (this definitely happens to me sometimes, as I don't have the upper fullness to always fill out the top fabric of bras). She agreed to let me post it up here as a guest post (see original imgur album here)! Also, check out her tutorial on shortening a bra band.
Happy altering!

This here is my Freya Latisha. She is lovely, but her lace... oh dear. It gapes, wrinkles, puckers and is generally a mess. Now, the rest of the bra fits great! This tutorial will make the lace smooth and take out a little apex fullness, but it will not change other aspects of the bra! I'm pretty awesome, but I am not a magician.
See here? This is what I'm talking about. Freya, wtf? Who has boobie there?

This is the fullness I'll be taking out.

Here comes the fun part... To figure out what the hell you are going to change, you have to tuck the excess lace into the bottom cup (the fabric). Seriously, just poke it under there. It's a lot easier to make sure this alteration is perfect by doing this (and pinning) while the bra is on. I started poking and pinning about 3/4-1" down from the strap, and ended about 1/2" from the underwire. You want the fold to taper to nothing at these points.

Start pinning! Pin the fold of lace UNDER the fabric of the lower cup. I found it easiest to stick my thumb under the bra and pinch with my other fingers. PS You will poke your boobies. You will swear. Just a warning.

One side pinned, one side untouched.

Both sides pinned.

Close up of the pinning. See how flat the lace lays?! Heck yeah.

Dust off your sewing machine and thread that bitch with some strong thread. I'm using 100% polyester thread. This seam takes a bit of abuse from your boobies (especially if they are bigger than mine), so you want it to be strong. No droopy boobies allowed. Start sewing at the point where your fold tapered off. Make sure to backtack at the beginning. Also, try to keep your stitches close to the edge! I'll show you what happens when you don't... Grumble.

End your stitching when your presser foot touches the underwire. Backtack that bitch, and clip your threads.

Here is what the inside looks like once the fold is sewn down.

And this is what outside looks like when you don't stay close to the edge of the lower fabric cup. You get a little flap that sticks out and looks terrible. I stitched back over this really close to the edge to tack that down. Much better.

Both sides done. Looking FINE AS HELL.

We did it! Go have some wine.
Also, round and delicious looking from the side. Seriously, we deserve some wine.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Friendly Reminder Re: Google Reader

Just a quick friendly reminder to all my readers - or anyone who currently uses Google Reader: Remember that Google Reader is closing on July 1st, so you'll want to find an alternate form of getting blog updates. Bloglovin seems to be the most popular, so that's what I'll be switching over to personally and providing a link to in the sidebar. :) Remember that Bloglovin allows you to move your blog feeds over, so you won't lose anything!

Happy blog reading!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

As a bonus: a brief preview of an upcoming guest post!

Tutti Rouge Betty Review

Have you heard of new lingerie brand Tutti Rouge yet? Their designs are fun, flirty, and girly without being overly "cutsey".

Image from the Tutti Rouge Facebook Page

As of this post, the company has released two bra sets - the Liliana (available in 28-38 DD-J) and the Betty (available in 28-38 DD-HH) - with more on the way. I was delighted when Tutti Rouge offered to send me the Betty set to try out.

The bra set itself is lovely. I'm generally not one for frilliness, floral bras or wearing bra sets in general - but I was enchanted by the Betty! The little details are unexpected and charming.

(seriously, how cute is this set??)

I was sent a 30H and Small knickers to try out. My usual bra size is 28H or HH, but I'm glad I went for a 30H in this bra as the band was quite snug (a first for me in a 30 band)! In fact, the stretched-out band measurement of the band is barely 28", making the fit more like a very snug 28 or looser 26 band rather than a true 30 band. This is perfect for me as I generally need a firm 28 band, but it would mean that someone who needed a true 30 band would need to size up.

However, I will say that there have been some discrepancies on how other reviewers have found the bands of the Betty bra to run. I personally found it quite tight, but others have found it fairly forgiving. I'm left to wonder if it's perhaps a manufacturing issue as the particular line is so new, or if the smaller band sizes run snug while the higher band sizes run looser, or if breast shape/body type affects the fit quite a bit? Either way, I'm almost wondering if Tutti Rouge might even look into introducing 26 bands in at least one of their lines (as in, rather than producing very tight 28 bands, relabeling them as true 26 bands)... one can only hope!

I found the knickers in my usual size of Small to be roomy; I would do best in an Extra-Small in this particular pair. They were so comfy, though, that I may end up just wearing them anyhow!

The Betty bra itself has a very interesting and unusual shape. The wires are sort of a "tall U' shape, although I didn't find them to be pokey under the arms at all. The shape of the wires and cups is reminiscent of the Curvy Kate Tease Me, although the Tutti Rouge Betty cups aren't quite as shallow looking, but "taller":

Top to bottom: Ewa Michalak 28H, Curvy Kate 28HH, Tutti Rouge 30H

Upon trying on the bra, I found the material to be very comfortable, and the overall fit was better than I expected given that I rarely get along with 30 bands or cups that are at all "shallow" shaped. There were a few issues for me, though - I was getting a bit of spillage at the top of the cups and under my armpits (the cups seemed to be sort of smashing my breasts down and up), the center gore tacked at the top of my sternum but not quite at the bottom, and the bra gave a rather spread-out, minimizing (even flattening) look from both the front and side. This "minimizing" shape is especially apparent underneath clothes. It's a bit hard to describe, so I took a comparison picture with the Freya Deco (one of my everyday bras, representative of the shape I generally get under clothes):

I wouldn't say that the bra gives a bad shape, but it certainly is different (and a bit unexpected). I'm wondering if perhaps the bra would allow me to wear button-down shirts that were previously unwearable for me due to my bust - an intriguing thought!

I've seen some reviews where the reviewer didn't get on with the shape at all, but for me and my shape (somewhat bottom-heavy), the bra is, if not perfect, at least wearable. Based on my experience with the lovely Betty, I would recommend her for those looking for a more minimizing look under shirts, and for smaller-banded women looking for 28-30 bands that run tight. The bra won't work for all breast shapes, but for others, it's a lovely choice.

Be sure to check out these additional reviews of the Tutti Rouge Betty:
Invest in Your Chest (30FF)
Curvy Kitten (28H)
The Lingerie Addict (36HH)
A Sophisticated Pair (30HH)
Fuller Figure Fuller Bust (36HH)
Miss Underpinnings (28G)
PinupPersuasion (30F in 34DD)
Sweet Nothings
Petite & Plentiful (28E)
Undercover Lingerista (30FF)

Looking to give Betty a whirl? You can find Tutti Rouge in stock at

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My First Foray into the No-Shampoo Method

As of today, it's been 2 months since I last used shampoo, and my hair has truly never felt cleaner.

Let me give that statement a bit of context.

I've always had "oily hair". I needed to wash every other day with two helpings (two!) of cheap Suave shampoo. Else my hair would end up looking greasy.... as in, "Is it raining outside?" greasy.

I've known for a long time that the excessive use of shampoo probably wasn't really doing my hair any favors (due to stripping the natural oils from my hair and whatnot). Thus, after much mental debate, I finally decided to take the plunge in April and ditch the shampoo. Entirely.

I had happened upon this easy-to-read (and recommended) article where the author lists 10 things she's used to wash her hair as alternatives to shampoo. Besides plain water, using Baking Soda paste and/or a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar (henceforth known as ACV) in water seemed the simplest, so that's what I went for to start.

Buying in bulk, yeah!

Again, my hair "type" is as follows: very straight, "oily", about average thickness, and currently very short. Everyone's hair is different, and thus your hair's reaction and your overall experience may end up quite different than mine! My main point in sharing my experience, though, is to provide a look into how forgoing shampoo can work out, and to provide a "you can do it, too!" to anyone on the fence about trying it.

The Experiment

To be honest, I went into this experiment expecting my hair to look terrible and greasy and gross for several weeks, if not several months, and just hoping I could power through and possibly emerge with acceptable-looking hair at the end of it all.

For about the first week, I washed with a Baking Soda paste alone every other day, making sure to scrub out my hair well with just water before and after. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, although my hair didn't feel as "clean" in the shower as it had when I had been using shampoo (it still felt like there was some grease in it), it looked really pretty clean once dry. In fact, that first week I found my hair almost *too* dry, so I supplemented the hair-washing routine with a splash of ACV in about half a cup of water henceforward.

For the next several weeks, I used  a "Baking Soda followed by ACV" routine every other day. My hair still seemed to feel a little "greasy" in the shower (although the ACV seemed to do a good job of cutting this down), but it looked fine and clean once dry. I then started trying washing with just water (and an ACV rinse) every second time or so, with good results. As someone who had never been able to get by with more than a couple of days of no washing - or even with just using water rather than shampoo - this seemed nothing short of amazing to me!

Now, two months in, I'm finding that I only feel the need to use Baking Soda a couple of times a week, if that; my hair does just fine with a water scrub and the splash of ACV. My hair has also recently started feeling clean and non-greasy in the shower as well as out - there really seems to be much less of any oily buildup.

(FYI, it's way harder to take a picture of one's own hair than it seems. I didn't put any gel in my hair this morning and let it dry funny to try to best show that it is Decidedly Not Greasy! Hopefully you can sort of tell.
Also, I need a haircut.)

And for those wondering - yes, Apple Cider Vinegar does have a rather strong smell to it. I do still notice the smell after rinsing right when I get out of the shower and my hair is still wet (note that I have a very sensitive sense of smell). But once my hair is dry, any sort of residual smell is undetectable. I even asked a few trusted family members/friends to smell my hair to check this, and they all reported that "your hair smells like hair." Woo!

The Cost

Since thriftiness is my thing, I decided to chart out how much washing with the Baking Soda and ACV was costing vs. my old shampoo routine. The results? Very interesting (to other intrigued-by-math nerds).

Baking Soda prices vary, of course, depending on region and amount bought, but the 13.5 lb bag above cost $6.79 (and apparently, you can also use it to clean your pool!). The "serving size" is listed as 1/8 tsp, and there are 10,863 servings in the bag. Estimating that one hair wash takes about 1 tsp (this will vary based on hair length, preference, etc), the cost of the hair wash would be $0.005, or half a cent.

Similarly, Apple Cider Vinegar prices vary, but the 32oz bottle pictured above was $1.98. I use a "splash" of ACV mixed with water in a small plastic cup; I estimate one wash uses roughly 1 Tbsp. One "serving" is listed as 1 Tbsp, and there are 63 servings in the bottle, making the cost of the hair wash $0.0314, or about 3 cents.
[for comparison's sake, I could buy a gallon of Great Value ACV for $3.83, bringing the cost per wash down to $0.015, or I could buy a gallon of organic Bragg ACV for $19.09, making cost per wash $0.075]

Thus, using the prices above, a wash with both Baking Soda and ACV would cost about 3 and half cents per wash. Using just ACV would be 3 cents, just Baking Soda 1/2 a cent, and using water alone is "free".

Figuring out "cost per wash" of shampoo is a little trickier, as there aren't any "serving sizes" listed. A bit of online research revealed a vast variety in the amount of shampoo people used per wash. "About quarter sized" seemed to be average/recommended, but there were a good number of people saying that they used "a palmful" of shampoo per wash! I tested the amount I used (roughly quarter-sized), and it's about 1 tsp [5ml]. Since I would wash twice, it's safe to assume that I was using about 2 tsp [10ml] of shampoo per wash. A 665ml bottle, then, would yield about 66.5 hair washes for me. At $1.98 a bottle for my current shampoo, it was costing me $0.0297 per wash, or about 3 cents.

For me, then, the cost of a wash for my cheap shampoo (3 cents) is a bit less than the cost of a wash with Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda together (3.5 cents). If I wanted, I could bring the cost of a Baking Soda/ACV wash down to 2 cents if I bought ACV in cheap bulk. I could also use just Baking Soda alone to bring the cost down, but that alone tends to make my hair feel dry. Washing with water alone would obviously be the cheapest of all, and I feel that as my hair continues to adjust, I'll be able to do this more and more often.

The above is, of course, a very individualized price discussion made up of rough estimates. Perhaps your default shampoo costs much more than $1.98 and you also use conditioner. Maybe Baking Soda costs more in your area. Maybe you use much smaller or much higher amounts than I calculated for my individual preferences. Maybe you don't even want to use Baking Soda or Apple Cider Vinegar and would rather use one of the other suggestions in Lulastic's article - or you would prefer something like a shampoo bar. Whatever your situation, you can usually fairly easily calculate out the cost to know what various options would cost you. In my case, despite the fact that there isn't a huge difference in cost that my new natural routine has over my old, I much prefer it for several reasons:

1. I don't get exposed to any "unnatural" or unknown ingredients, and I create less waste overall.
2. Both Baking Soda and ACV have many other uses besides hair-washing; multi-use products tend to save time, money, and space.
And most importantly,
3. My hair is much cleaner and happier using the "natural" household ingredients I've tried vs. using shampoo.

So, have you ever tried going shampoo-free? How did it work out? If you've never tried it, would you ever?

For a bit more further reading, VenusianGlow has a post on hair care, and Lulastic details some of the misadventures of her No-shampoo journey and gives a one-year update.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bra Storage Methods

The results of last week's poll are in - majority says that you'd like to be reading more bra reviews in general! I'll definitely be keeping this in mind for future posts; bra reviews have tended to fall by the wayside as most of my bras are purchased secondhand and thus are usually older models. However, I have a Tutti Rouge set on the lineup to review later this month, and I'll be making a more concentrated effort to review bras in general! Today's post is on the topic with the second highest amount of interest - Unconventional Bra Storage Methods.

Ever since I've expanded my bra collection above just a couple of bras (I actually don't even know when this happened - all of a sudden, I looked around and there were piles of bras everywhere), I've had issues with storing them properly - as in, making that they're at least somewhat accessible and not being damaged or distorted by folding or squishing any molded cups, or by hanging the bras by one strap for long periods.

My basic tactic that I've come up with in dealing with bra storage is to look at what I do have available. I'm going to talk about capitalizing on what you have to work with in terms of storing bras - drawer space, closet space, wall space, surface space, and floor/vertical space.

Drawer Space

Some of us are lucky enough to have the dresser drawer space to store some or all of our bras, like Windie Gardie or Bras I Hate & Love - and that's great! This is probably the simplest and most common way to go about storing bras. Just arrange your bras neatly (perhaps with the aid of drawer organizers) and you're good to go.

Image from Bras I Hate & Love

Image from Bras I Hate & Love
Image from UndieGamer

The main problems with using the drawer method are lack of drawer space and/or drawers that aren't large enough to store molded cups properly (both of which have been issues for me). If you lack ample drawer space, read on!

Closet Space

If you have extra closet space (or you just need an "overflow" place if your bra drawer gets full), this can be a good option for bra storage. The tactic of just putting your bras on hangers with the rest of your clothes is simple, but effective:

I've never had enough extra closet space to be able to store many of my bras this way. However, as you may notice from the picture, the cups of the bras don't stick out nearly as much as you might think when on a hanger, and thus you may be surprised at how many you could actually fit in a small amount of closet space.

Wall Space

In my last apartment, I didn't have much drawer, closet, or really any other kind of space at all. But I did have one thing - wall space!

My solution, then, was to get a set of wall hooks and hang my molded bras on them (the nonmolded ones went folded into one of my small drawers). Hanging bras by just one strap can potentially distort the bra shape, so I tried to keep most of the bras hooked on by both straps unless I knew I was going to wear them again soon. The end result looked rather like a store display or art piece.

(I've moved and don't currently have the wall space we once did, thus I've attempted to recreate what it looked like here)

While this method allows for easy access to your bras (and provided me with a specific place to easily corral my bras, rather than my old method of just throwing my bras over a closet door or on a door handle), it does require screwing a hook rack into the wall, which you may not want (or be able) to do. You also would have to be comfortable with your bras being "on display" to anyone who might wander into your clothing storage area. And while I loved being able to see all the bras I had and rotate through them more evenly, it was a little tricky to access the ones in the back.

However, if wall space is all you have, don't be afraid to use it! Other types of hooks or multiple hook racks could be used to fit your bras' needs.

Surface Space

My current method of storage involves using what I have in our current living space: surface area. There's little drawer, wall, or closet space to be had, but we do have a long, low bookshelf.

I gathered up a motley assortment of various baskets that we had (if you don't have baskets, you can usually find them at thrift stores) and divided up the things that I wanted easy access to: molded bras, unmolded bras, Perfect Camis, waistbelts, and scarves.

For molded bras, you'll need a basket large enough so the cups can sit without being squished by the sides. I can fit two layers of bras in this particular basket (the bras on the bottom support the ones on top, so there's not much squishing that goes on there), which is for me at least 12 bras.

The unmolded bras I basically stacked like records into a basket deep enough to hold the wires. I can fit about 6 bras total this way in this particular basket.

Not everyone will have the surface space to use this method, but I really like having my bras (and other accessories) so handy!

Other Space

Finally, if your drawers and closet are full and you don't have wall or surface space, you'll have to get even more creative. You might try to make use of floor/vertical space - perhaps by using a storage rack hanging from your wall, for instance. Or look for any place that you might have extra space to store things - under a sliding box under your bed, or on a hanging rack on your closet door. You might be surprised and find space that you didn't know you had.

So what method (or methods) do you use to store your bras? Do you make use of a combination of several ideas? I'd love to hear about bra storage methods that I haven't thought of!