Valda’s Released… and we have some hacks!

Valda for Youth and Adult has released and I couldn’t be more excited. As I interacted with our lovely testers I got so many different inspirations for Valda that I just had to make some hacks for it… and here we are! I had SO many ideas that -wink- I’d suggest watching for another blog post with even MORE!

Without much ado, I’ll jump right into the first hack which is a simple one: Bling.

 This was my first time putting rhinestones on a piece of clothing and it’s been SO rewarding! I love the little extra flair that my bling adds to the Valda.

For this, you’ll need your already made Valda, rhinestones, a scrap of paper, a wax pen or tweezers (to hold the rhinestones while you move them) and some form of glue to set it (I chose to use E6000).

If you’re not artistically inclined, tissue paper or wax paper… something to trace or sketch your design on is useful too!

  I already had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do with my rhinestones when I set out to do this so I opted not to use anything to trace my design onto first.

I (painstakingly) laid out the rhinestones until I had a pretty good version of what I wanted on it. After getting a second opinion from a fellow seamstress and tweaking the position on a few I set out to get these set on my Valda!

If you choose to use E6000 I have some tips before you get started. Unless you’re using all larger rhinestones, you’ll want to grab some fine tip openings to use with it (ask me how I know!). From there I used my wax tipped pen (it came with my rhinestone kit) to pick up the rhinestones one by one, put a tiny dab of E6000 (and I do mean a tiny dab… it doesn’t take much) where you’re going to set the rhinestone and place it down. E6000 does need time to cure so I left mine overnight to let it harden and set fully.

And with that, you’re good to go! Here’s some more photos of this Valda for inspiration!

My next hack is pretty easy as well, we’ll call it Overlay.

 For this I did a lace overlay, but any contrasting fabric will work beautifully! I find this gives the Valda a fun “sporty” vibe which fits right in with my busy life chasing my 3 children!

 For this look you’ll cut a full back of your under-fabric, a front, your facing pieces, and your strap. For the overlay, you’ll want the narrow back cut and front (no strap!).

Since I used a lace for my overlay I needed nicely finished seams without showing through the lace with my contrasting thread color (because let’s be honest I was not about to swap serger thread colors). The process takes a little extra effort but it’s so worth it in the end.

To do a french seam you’ll lay your overlay pieces WRONG sides together and stitch a 1/4” seam along the sides.

From there, you’ll turn the overlay wrong sides out and stitch another 1/4” seam right over the top of your last one. Since my lace had large areas of “holes” I chose not to trim down the first seam, but traditionally you would (and can if you need to… just make sure you do it BEFORE the second seam).

 This is with my second seam done! (The overlay is wrong sides out right now).

 You can see here this method gives you a nice enclosed seam that looks more professional that leaving those serger threads showing through my lace!

The last part of this overlay is to deal with that pesky neckline. I have a coverstitch and chose to use it, but any method of finishing that edge on the armholes will work!

 You can see I’ve turned the edges of the armholes 1/4” under and topstitched them down.

After constructing the side seams on your under-fabric you’ll slip the overlay right sides out directly over the under fabric assembly. Seen here I centered my back portion and clipped in place.

The neckline gets pinned or clipped in place with the raw edges matching up. Yes, raw edges… don’t finish those on the overlay!

You’ll now finish Valda exactly as the instructions direct with a facing, taking care not to catch the finished edges in your armhole seam. I shifted my finished edge over a little as I stitched my armholes so that the finished edge wouldn’t catch in the seam between facing and main bodice. 

Complete the rest of the Valda steps and you’ve got a fun sporty new top to show off!

For those who prefer a Shelf Bra with their Valda, we’ve got a hack for that too!

 This is a bit involved to do, but SO worth it in the end, I promise!

 For this, I recommend tracing your facing portions onto some tissue paper, butchers paper, etc… whatever you prefer as long as you can see through it to actually trace the lines!

 Here’s my traced facing portions!

The next step is to measure down how far you want the shelf bra to go on your side. For me, it was ~5.5” down, I then added ½ inch to that to account for my seams and give a tiny bit of extra room for the ladies.

 I drew a line straight down from my armscye point (the point that goes under your armpit, basically) and marked my 5.5 and 6” points. From there I simply drew a straight line across to the fold on the facing pieces.

The next step is to measure your underbust and divide that number by 4. Then, add .75 to the number. For example, my underbust is 31”… divided by 4 brings me to 7.75… adding .75 brings me to 8.5”. This is how far from the fold you’ll want to mark along your straight line across, you can probably see them in the picture above already.

You’ll then draw a straight line from that armscye point to the marking for your underbust. It’s ok if it doesn’t come in as sharply as mine does. It’s also ok if it needs to go to a point past your vertical line for shelf bra length… just make sure you continue the horizontal line so that you can connect them properly!

 You’ve now got the basic part of the shelf bra done, go ahead and cut off the extra bits! The back is also done now so set that shelf bra piece aside while we focus on the front portion.

 If you’ve seen a shelf bra tutorial before they might tell you to mark in 1/3 or 2/3 portions for a bodice piece. This does NOT work as well on Valda because of where the key areas were drafted to hit. For this, you’ll fold your shelf bra piece in half, matching up the bottom edges and corners.

When you unfold, it helps to draw that line as well as your 1/4” seam allowance so you have a visual aid on what the final piece will look like after sewing.

Measure down from the shoulder ~1” so that portion won’t change for this next bit and draw a line across.

You’ll now cut up that fold line, up until you hit the 1” mark at the shoulders.

 Depending on your size for the ladies (use your best judgement here) you’ll spread the bottom of the slit open .5 – 1” (I opted for .75” myself). Grab a scrap and tape it with that opening in place so that you now have a wider bottom for your shelf bra front. 

 Cut off any excess on the bottom edge and smooth out the transition.

You’ve finished drafting your shelf bra pieces, now it’s time to cut them out! You’ll want to use a knit for this so you have stretch to account for the ladies. Once you’ve done that, sew the sides right sides together.

Next, grab some elastic. Width is highly up to your preferences, some prefer 1” for extra stability, some prefer smaller such as 3/8” (I used 3/8” myself as I have a short torso and wider elastic digs in as I move around).

Take that underbust measurement from before and multiply it by .85… so my 31” becomes 26.35. You can round to the nearest 1/8” to assist with cutting length. Cut this new number (in my case, 26.375”) of your elastic and place the short raw edges next to each other to zig zag and join them together. 

 Pin or clip your elastic in 4 equal parts and repeat with the bottom edge of your shelf bra assembly.

Place your elastic on the inside of the shelf bra assembly and match up the points marked, taking care to have your seam on the elastic either on a side or in the back center and pin or clip together.

From here, you’ll carefully stretch the elastic and stitch with a stretch stitch (zig zag or a serger both work well here) it 1/4” from the raw edges of the shelf bra pieces. Take care not to stretch your shelf bra out as you sew.

You’ll wind up with something resembling this:

 Next, flip the elastic toward the inside so that you have a smooth edge on the bottom of the shelf bra enclosing the elastic a little bit (or entirely, depending on your elastic width chosen). You’ll topstitchat the remaining “raw” edge of the elastic to secure it in place, be sure to use a stretch stitch for this!

You’ll now complete your Valda using the shelf bra in place of the regular facing pieces!

My fourth hack is using a Braided Strap. One of our staff members did this in testing and I loved it so much it HAD to become a hack for all of you!

 For this you’ll need some knit scraps. I used a coordinating cotton lycra I had on hand.  

 Cut (3) 1.25” x 30” strips and fold them in half length wise to create a long skinny tube. Stitch with a 1/4” seam allowance.

Take a safety pin or other turning device and turn these tubes right sides out. Line up the short ends so that they’re all directly next to each other and baste across to hold them in place while you braid.

To braid, take strap 3 and cross it over strap 2.

Next, cross strap 1 over strap 3. 

 Then, cross strap 2 over strap 1…

…and continue with this until you have one long braided strap piece. Baste across after braiding to secure in place so you don’t lose all that braiding!

  From here it’s pretty straight forward. Measure your strap length from one of your basting lines and pin or mark where it hits on the braid. Baste across to secure the braiding and cut the excess off. I chose to baste 1/4” from the strap length line before doing this so I could keep and use the excess braid for something else (like… a headband!?).

Proceed to use the strap exactly as you would the normal ones and complete your Valda!

Last but certainly not least is the Crop.  You might have noticed it in my shelf bra picture and I’ll show more inspiration when I’m done explaining how I made it!

To start, you need to decide how far down you want your crop to go from your sides. I went ~1” past my facing lines as I prefer a little more length to my crop. Fold the bottom hemline up to the new point on your FRONT piece and use that angle to cut your crop piece.

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