Designer Q&A + AUGUST/SEPTEMBER SEW ALONG | Brittani from Untitled Thoughts

Y’all, it’s August.

You know what that means?! A new sew along!!!

Remember, though, Sew Busty is changing the way that we (lol, I) do sew alongs: They’ll now happen every other month, giving you more time to catch up! You can read more on that decision here!

As I talked about in this post, we’ll be sewing up the Untitled Thoughts Amelie dress for August and September! The sew along will cover the bra-friendly back without sleeves.

This pattern is available for a 24-50″ (60.6-127 cm) waist and comes in either B or DD garment sewing cups.

(Remember that garment sewing cups are not bra cups! Your garment cup size is probably smaller than your bra cup size! Read here for more! That said, if your garment cup size is not a B or DD, read on! We’ll have a tutorial for you!)

Here’s the schedule that you can expect for the Amelie sew along:

  • August 9: Choosing a Size and Materials
  • August 16: Doing a Full Bust Adjustment on the Amelie (which my lovely friend and Untitled Thoughts Designer Brittani, interviewed below, has authored for us!)
  • August 23: Sewing the Bodice and Waistband
  • August 30: Sewing the Skirt and Attaching the Bodice
  • September 6: Finishing Touches (including BUTTONS!)

Remember, for August and September, post any me-made garment that features buttons on instagram with #sewbustychallenge for a chance to win a prize! Submissions due by September 30.

Now, wouldn’t it be just dandy to hear more about Untitled Thoughts and Brittani, the designer behind the company, before we sew up the Amelie? I thought so too! So, without further ado:

Designer Q&A: Brittani from Untitled Thoughts

Q: What is your name?
A: My name is Brittani Bumb (yep, that is my real last name! Loads of people have told me it sounds made up, haha!)

Q: What is your pattern company’s name and how did you come up with it?
A: My pattern company’s name is Untitled Thoughts. I came up with the name based on my experiences growing up around my inability to express my true feelings most of the time. I was a big rule follower (still am!) and I found that a lot of my thoughts and opinions stayed inside my head rather than being fully expressed. Except when it came to clothing. I felt a real freedom to be myself through what I wore which was incredibly liberating for me!

So the name Untitled Thoughts really represents my views on clothing and it’s ability to tell the world what you are thinking without having to actually say anything. The name is also kind of a call to action for anyone who, like me, feels it’s hard to express their deepest thoughts. It’s my hope that my brand helps to release those feelings and give people permission to be 100% themselves! 

Q: How long has your company existed?
A: As a pattern company, Untitled Thoughts has only existed for a year and a half, but my brand has been with me since college, so roughly 8 years? It has grown and changed alongside me in my own journey with clothing!

Q: When and how did you decide to become a pattern designer? 
A: It actually happened totally accidentally! I was actually working at an indie fabric shop (Topstitch Studio and Lounge) when I was introduced to the online sewing community. I hadn’t even realized such a community existed! OR that one could be and indie pattern designer! It was a whole new world that opened up to me and I completely fell down the rabbit hole.

I started experimenting with pattern design using patterns that I had already drafted for my previous RTW collections and trying to adapt them into sewing patterns. Through that process, I realized that pattern making utilized a variety of skills I had picked up over the years. Never before had I had a job that required me to pull from all of these random skill sets, and I found that I really loved the diversity!

Q: Are you #teamrotarycutter or #teamshears?
A: Oh this is probably the hardest question of them all! Hmmm…. I tend to lean more towards #TeamShears, but I do love whipping out my rotary cutter for those extra special projects!

Q: What is your favorite thing to sew for yourself?
A: Dresses! I have always loved wearing dresses the most and tend to enjoy sewing them the most as well. It’s just so satisfying creating an entire outfit through one garment!

Q: Untitled Thoughts has a focus on sustainability. Can you share more about why sustainability is important to you?
A: Sustainability has been a part of my life for a very long time. I’m not entirely sure when my passion for the environment began, probably when I was a kid running around outside catching butterflies and playing with rollie-pollies! I even found a paper I wrote from my high school days in which I describe myself as a “tree-hugger” so I suppose environmentalism has always been rooted deep within my ethos.

It got much deeper once I graduated college and entered the traditional fashion workforce. I lived in NYC for a few years and my time spent there really solidified my views on sustainability with regards to the fashion industry. More recently, however, I have begun learning more and more about conservation and ecology and have unlocked a new passion I hadn’t realized existed for me! All of my work moving forward has been centered on these two ideas and how I can better serve the environment from those view points. It’s been an interesting road to travel, but one that I feel so deeply passionate about!

Q: And how does Untitled Thoughts practice sustainability?
A: Oh there are loads of little things (as well as big ideas!) I try to incorporate into the day-to-day practices here at Untitled Thoughts. I have outlined many of them in more detail on my website under my About section. These range anywhere from reusing packaging to CFL bulbs to composting to saving all of my scraps and turning them in to something new.

More recently, I decided that moving forward, all of my future patterns will be designed to be zero waste, or as low waste as possible. Through this process, my entire outlook on the design process and what I create and put out into the world has shifted! I’ve written a bit about my intentions for future patterns here. Since writing that blog post, I have solidified my stance a bit more on the direction I plan to take Untitled Thoughts in to the future. It’s both exciting and a lot of work, but I think it’s important work, marrying sustainability + design. 

Q: What does body diversity mean to you?
A: It means a lot. I’ve always had the view point that diversity is incredibly important and is the most beautiful thing in the world. Whether it be the diversity of culture, of food, of personalities, of plant, of animals, of water…. diversity is what fills the world with so much to be joyful of! And body diversity is no different – it’s something that should be celebrated and enjoyed! So it has always been at the forefront of my mind when it comes to the garments I design. 

Because Untitled Thoughts was built on this idea of expressing your inner most thoughts and showing the world who you are, the idea of celebrating each persons’ unique body goes hand in hand. I’ve always championed people to celebrate their bodies, back when I was designing RTW garments, then when I moved into creating custom bridal wear, and now with pattern design. 

Q: What inspired you to offer your patterns for both B and DD cups?
A: Honestly, I was inspired by the community. It wasn’t until discussions regarding size inclusivity and bust size options began happening on Instagram that I was even aware that most patterns were designed from a B-Cup base. Even though I went to college for fashion design, this small fact was never even mentioned. Isn’t that wild? (Editor’s note: YES SO WILD. Okay, back to Brittani)

Once I learned that everything I had designed in the past was based off of one cup size, and that that cup size wasn’t the most universal, I realized that I needed to make some changes to my design process. Thankfully, there were designer’s like Helen from Helen’s Closet and Jenny from Cashmerette that had been researching this very issue and made their findings public. After reading through their research (and doing a bit of my own), I decided to add in the DD-Cup option to all of my patterns. I chose the DD-cup addition because it seemed to be the cup size that would be most beneficial to sewists at the time. 

I would of course love to continue adding additional cup size options to my patterns, but I am unsure how feasible it will be for me in the short term to get this done. As a one woman run-brand, I can only accomplish so much in a short time frame. But it is something I am constantly thinking about and hope to tackle when the time is right!

Q: What challenges did you face, if any, when adapting your patterns for the larger cup size?
There have definitely been challenges, but I love challenges because it means there is still room for learning and growth! I think one of the biggest challenges has been getting proportions correct and ensuring that no one dart is too wide and short. The Amelie Dress was actually the first dress I designed to include the DD-Cup option, and it was a mess during the testing phase, even for the B-Cup Sizes! Center Front darts are tricky to get correct and my testers came back and told me that they were experiencing Madonna-esque tips at the bust. 

It turns out that my bust darts were too wide and short which left no where for the fabric to go. I didn’t realize that this was something to be concerned about, but after a bit of research, it turns out that there are certain guidelines that you can follow for the ratio of a dart’s length:width to keep the darts lying more smoothly. For the B-Cup option, I simply needed to add a second dart to help redistribute the excess fabric. But for the DD-Cup, I needed to add two additional darts, which you don’t commonly see in patters.

It’s little details like this that I find myself constantly looking for when designing for larger cup sizes. I want to make sure that my garments fit the same way across all my sizes, even when the base garment has differences between each bust size.

Circle back Monday to see the first installment of the Amelie Sew Along! 

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