Evie la Luve Havana and Ember Pattern Testing - So Exciting!

Well, we all now how much I like Hannah’s patterns so I was thrilled to be asked to be a pattern tester for the new Evie La Luve Havana bralette and Ember panties. I had been following the progress of the patterns and had even bought some Spoonflower fabric for when they became available. This is just so gorgeous. A little thought into the straps but other than that a really quick and very gratifying make.

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Strappy lingerie is not for everyone but if you get the fit right it can look amazing and still be comfortable. So with the Jamie bodysuit, Keyhole Darcey and a Frankie with a strap back under my belt I thought I would go the next step and go double straps. For the Havana the choice is plain front or with mesh and then single or double straps.

There are endless possibilities for the Ember but I wanted to match with the Havana so I went with version 4 front and then version 2 back with double straps. Then I had to check that I had enough strapping, rings and sliders as they are all used in large quantities. Good to go!

Not a lot of fabric required but I did need to fussy cut my little cat faces. The pantie front panel was easy enough. I just folded the fabric through the middle of the nose and made sure the face filled the widest part of the pattern. The Havana front was hard to judge as cut in one piece on the fold I didn’t want the two full on faces so I went with whiskers at the centre front with gave me two full faces at the sides. The alternative would be to have a centre seam but that would add unnecessary bulk.

I chose a very soft stretch mesh for both the lining of the Havana and the contrast fabric. After sewing the darts in both you baste together. I prefer to do this by hand with a silk thread which is easier to remove and doesn’t put any strain on the fabric. I then applied the contrast piece, pressed the seam down and topstitched in place before trimming back to the stitches for a neat finish.

As my mesh was very stretchy I applied the fold over elastic at this point. Personally I like to measure out the elastic and mark the middle and pin to centre front. This ensures I have matching sides. I then applied the plush elastic band followed by the underarm elastic and again, to ensure matching sides, I measured out the elastic for the underarm and matched the quarter points making sure I left the 2” at the top for attaching the rings.

For the front you use rings the same width as your strap elastic and the larger 5/8” rings are used for the sides. The third large ring is attached to the band at the centre front, leaving around 1/4” of the elastic showing. I marked both the centre of the elastic and the 1/4” as I am very fussy about accurate placement. I used a Frixon pen and with a quick shot of steam the mark is gone. Next, the shoulder straps are added. As always, I use a fabric glue pen to hold the strap in place, start in the middle, go forward to the end, reverse back and then forward back to the middle. This means I can snip the threads really close and the edges are really clean. I always fold the same amount and stitch in the same place. This pattern has a lot of straps and this helps the finished product look really professional.

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Then on to those snazzy double straps! I used both the technical drawing and the photos to ensure I had the fourth strap in the right place. It also helps if you attach the straps in the same direction as the photos ie. which side you attach first. I did not think this through on the first set and then had to mentally mirror the look as I had done the opposite side first! The finished product was well worth the effort. I knew the bralette would fit but wondered about the support and the fit of the straps as people have varied body shapes. There was no need to worry as the support was great and with the sliders on the straps you can fine tune for a fabulous look.

So on to the Ember. Either front 3 or 4 would match the Havana but I went with 4 as this had a little more fabric coverage especially with the very stretchy mesh. First you attach the sides to lower front. For finishing the seems I used my new Janome Air Thread which is a dream to use. After pressing the seams downwards you topstitch in place.

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The FOE is applied to each side of the back cut out before stitching the centre back seam, again finishing with the overlocker. This is quite a bulky seam where the FOE meets but I gave it a good press and followed the pattern instructions to sew a few stitches to hold in place. The leg elastic is applied next. Personally I like to measure and cut the same elastic for each leg and match at the quarter points. I now have enough experience not to do this but I am a creature of habit.

Next you stitch the side seams. I first hand stitched the FOE in place as it is quite bulky and likes to move. Again I pressed well and used a few stitches to secure. Then you add the waist elastic leaving the tabs for the attaching the large rings to the back. I had just 3” of FOE elastic left!

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Just the straps to finish. These are done just like the Havana so it was much quicker this time. I was coming to the end of the roll of strap elastic so I measured it all out before cutting. I did have another batch but a slightly different white. Unbelievably there was just enough but I had to use the alternative for the 2” for the tab centre front but as you see so little it is not a problem. Then for the big try on.

My verdict? I know what size to make for myself so this is advantageous. However, as with all the other Evie la Luve patterns, this fits true to size. I have very wide shoulders so bralettes without fasteners are harder for me to get on but the strapping is easier to get on than a full back band as there is more stretch. I made medium with 1/2” strapping and I thought that combination worked well. The look is absolutely amazing. Can’t wait to try the other versions. Next I need to find a friend who would like the Ember full strappy version. I have some gorgeous pink bamboo which would look fantastic with black elastic and findings.

Evie la Luve Summer Bikini - another stunner

Spurred on by the great success with Evie la Luve's Mimi Bikini I was eager to try the newly released Summer Bikini.  Having seen so many lovely designs by Shopcabin in Spoonflower sports lycra I thought perfect time to test.  I wanted a bright print but not too much white that might discolour.  How perfect is this Love Summer Florals & Tropical Leaves in Aqua.  

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I had bought enough fabric for both but with time running out I went with style 2 for the top and style 3 for the bottoms.  I had also stocked up on the elastic when I bought the pattern as this is the only website I could find all three widths needed.  The quality of the elastic makes all the difference.

I started with the bottoms.  I cut out the pattern in my regular size and compared to a good fitting RTW pair of a similar shape that are sadly no longer wearable because of the inadequate elastic.  I didn't follow all the instructions but instead made up the fabric and lining separately so there would be no seams.  Then I basted together using a ball  point needle and silk thread.  

Due to the construction method I now had to attach the elastic in the round for both legs and waist.  Whilst I do this quite a lot using a zigzag stitch I hadn't done this whilst attaching elastic with an overlocker!  I do like the coverage the overlocker gives to the inside edge so thought I would give it a go.  There is no elastic guide for the legs you just apply with a small amount of tension.  I've got a feeling for this now.  Starting at the side seam (as this would be covered by the bow) , the trick was to stop close to where I had started and cut the elastic just so it butts against the other end and overlock over the joint.  I was very impressed with my first attempt - where the red arrow is pointing.  The elastic is then just folded over and I used a zigzag to hold in place.  I do have a coverstitch machine but thought was a bit much for the bottoms.  

The little ties were a bit more problematic due to the fabric.  You stitch around leaving a gap to turn and then stitch the opening shut.  The fabric didn't like this so after the first I slipped stitched the second in place.  The fabric didn't press well.  However still looked fine.  You have the option to stitch in place over the side seam but l left loose.  Although when taking the picture they did move around so I may eventually fix in place. 

Moving on to the top.  I cut the pattern pieces in my regular size and taking off the seam allowance I made a paper cup just to check the coverage.  No problem with that.    

I went with the instructions on this except I didn't press the curved seam other than a little steam over the tailors ham.  With the seams all enclosed the front edge elastic is applied using a technique I hadn't used before except for straps.  You sew a fabric strip to the centre front edge of the fabric. You then apply elastic to the edge within the seam allowance  and then wrap the strip over the front and sew along the band you have created.  Then you trim the fabric back to your stitching.  As this is a band I thought the coverstitch would look better than a zigzag.  Although it was hard to trim the fabric neatly close enough to the stitching even with my small applique scissors.  

The next step is to overlap the centre fronts.  The pattern advised to try on at this point and adjust the overlap if necessary.  So I pinned on the fastener and it looked fine.  I also got to test out the various fastener colours.  I had ordered two of all the colours of the fabric from Sewing Chest but thought the pink worked best.

You do the same for the bottom edge.  I thought this might be a little bulky at the centre but it went through fine.  The straps are made by the fabric strips extending past the top edge and there are cutting guides for this.  I pinned the strips in place along the ditch as the fabric was a bit slippy going through the coverstitch.  I then tried on again to check the turn back for the fastener.  A little loose so I took in a further 1/2" each side.  The bow detail just finishes the set off perfectly.

Verdict - another great make.  Getting quite good at this sewing lark.  The patterns does say advanced and probably not for someone who has not used stretch fabrics or elastic before but the instructions and photos are so clear.  I have had some very expensive RTW brands that looked so pretty but I just couldn't swim in them.  It's all about the elastic and and the fact you have made them to fit.

As with all Evie la Luve's patterns they fit like they look in the illustrations.  This doesn't have as much coverage as the Mimi but different looks for different days and maybe at the start of the holiday if you eat as much as I do. 

Swimwear and lingerie sorted just a few Ogden Camis to make over the weekend!

Summer Lingerie Part 4 - Evie la Luve Darcey and Binky again!

Not sure what I would get out of the scraps I first cut the pieces for the Binky and decided how to finish once I worked out what bra I could make.  So it ended up being the Darcey Style 3 and Binky Style 5.

Has I had fussy cut the last two sets I had quite a lot of small pieces left so it was hard to find enough to make a bra after using the last two big pieces for the Binky.  The purple contrast had worked so well with the Romy that I thought I would try the mesh Darcey version, reducing the amount of fabric needed.  This used up most of the purple fold over and I had already used up my supply of navy.  So I used the ice blue for the waist and decided to try the narrow lace for the leg of the Binky.

First up was the Darcey.  The curve of the mesh looks daunting but as with every Evie la Luve pattern the pieces went together really well.  What I would say is make sure you mark ( I never snip)  the notches accurately and make sure they match as this ensures the proper placement of the curved pieces.  As the mesh is dark I did grade the seam allowance to ensure it was tucked between the lighter layers. Then I pressed over a tailor's ham.

The bra is then finished as Style 1.  The centre front piece is enclosed by the side fronts fabric and lining.  Again grading the seam allowance and pressing using the tailor's ham.  The side front is then enclosed by the back band fabric and lining.  

The next step is the first pass of the band elastic.  The back straps are then attached to the inside of the bra on the band elastic.  So when the band elastic is folded back for the second pass the straps are neatly enclosed.  This is such a neat method. Then the fold over elastic is applied to the neckline.  As always, before applying to the top edge of the bra, you check the back band fits into the fastener.  I shaved a small amount of, with both sides together, so they match.  Guidelines are given for the length of elastic and this works pretty well for me.  The point I would make here is to make sure you mark the centre of the elastic for the V of the neckline so evenly matched on both sides.

The inside of this bra is as good as the outside.

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Then on to the Binky.  I thought I would finish the leg with some narrow lace.  I have done once before on a Frankie and it turned out pretty good.  I had forgotten what I a time consuming method this is.  You pin the lace along the edge of the lace on one side and then mirror on the other side.  I did not baste but went straight to sewing as the lace was not moving around on the fabric.  

Then I used a small zigzag all around the inner edge of the lace which is a lot of lifting of the presser foot for an even curve!   The next step is to trim the fabric close to the stitching.  This is where applique (duckbill) scissors come into their own,  I have two different sizes.  I did most with the larger pair and then went to the smaller pair for any tight turns.  

I did use white bobbin thread so you can hardly see the stitching.  Then a perfect match on the side seams.  I certainly got value for money with a yard of fabric!

Summer Lingerie Part 3 - Evie la Luve Old Favourites - Rosie and Esme

So for the third make I wanted to use the lace I had in my stash to a make a pretty feminine set.  The Esme is a very flattering fit and started my obsession with Evie la Luve patterns.  It came in a deal with the Bella and is the first lingerie pattern I bought after taking the Beverly Johnson Craftsy classes.  I am capable of drafting my own patterns but I do enjoy testing what is out there.  I wanted to team up with a softer lace bralette so I went back to the Rosie which I have only made for my sister and thought would try for myself.

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My first task is to mark the seam line for any lace pattern pieces so I can make sure it sits at the low point of lace (lopol) where it needs to match.  This pattern has a centre front seam so it is important to be in the right place here.  The top edge is less important but actually worked quite well here as well.

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Although not called for in the pattern I lined the lace as well.  I deliberated between nude and white but then thought about the lilac powernet (fabric piece from Sewing Chest).  It looks really pretty underneath but the picture doesn't really pick this up.  As usual I used a temporary adhesive spray to hold in place and then used some very narrow soft elastic to cover the edge, all giving extra support.

 

I fussy cut the side fronts and back to try to find sections with as much as the ice blue as I could as not as dominant as the navy or purple.

The pattern has you attach the band to the side front for both fabric and lining and then enclose the the centre front piece.  I thought twice about doing this as I would normal enclose the cup in the band fabric and lining but went along with the pattern.  This makes for a flatter side seam rather than having the bulk on one side. 

Not only did I trim the seam allowance to 1/4" I also further trimmed the centre front piece as this seam was so bulky with all the lining.  I pressed but didn't topstitch with a three step zigzag as in the pattern as I find that this can sometimes distort the fabric.  However, sometimes you do need to do this if the layers don't lie flat enough.  I hand basted the fabric to lining all around.  Not only do the stitches come out easier it stops over stretching the fabric as machine basting can do.

Then on to the centre front.  It is so important that the lace matches perfectly. Starting off with Stitch N Tear really helps keep in place.  So what to do with the open seam.  The patterns says to overlock and press to one side.  I have a major issue with this on lace as it often looks wrong from the right side when you can see the seam and doesn't always stay flat.  My solution is to trim the seam down to 1/4" very neatly (rotary cutter and ruler) and then I used a small zig zag to catch the seam.  You can't see this from the right side of the lace as the thread match is so good.

What colour elastic to use?  Didn't want to use white or blue again so went with the grey (from a Fit2Sew findings kit).  With just the picot edge showing this did pick up on the grey in the fabric.  However, too dark to use for the straps.  I did have some matt mint/ice blue strap elastic but didn't look right so went with white for the straps.  The straps are made a little different using four rings and into two sections.  Luckily I noticed that the pattern requires bigger rings on the front than the back.  I assumed this was because there is too much bulk for the smaller rings used for the strap itself.  Luckily I has some bigger white rings.  I checked the fastener fit before I attached the elastic to  the back band.  For once no trimming necessary.

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Then disaster.  I didn't seem to have enough strap width fabric to go over the ring at the front.  Just too much bulk.  So I found white strap elastic the width of the ring.  I cut two small strips and folded in half over the ring.  I neatened the edge with a satin stitch, cut back to the stitching and then used fabric glue to attached to the fabric so that the top of the fabric sat just over the ring.  Left to dry and did a row of stitching through all the bulk as well!  Looks rather neat.

Moving on to the Esme which I have made a number of times in different fabrics.  After frequent washes I noticed that leg openings become a little loose with time as there is no elastic applied just hemmed.

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So this time I have used elastic for more prolonged wear.    Then, rather than just overlocking the leg opening, I attached 1/4" soft elastic as I did this.  Then you have an exact 1/4" to turn over for the hem without needing to pin.  After first neatening the front edge with the overlocker I basted the gusset piece in place so you catch this when the hem is folded over.  This creates less bulk than if included in the fold over for the hem.

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I cut the lace for the back lace pieces so that the low point of the lace was on the gusset seam allowance.  Then I joined the lace pieces using a stretch stitch and neatened the edge with the machine double overcast stitch.  After attaching the front to the back with the overlocker I did some securing sttches at each edge.

Then, the beauty of this pattern is that you can adjust the amount of overlap of lace over the fabric for the perfect fit.  There is a guide point and for me this is just right.  Just so pretty front and back.  

As expected the Esme fit perfect.  The Rosie looks fabulous and is going to be great for those long summer nights!  Enough fabric for more?

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Summer Lingerie Part 2 - Ohhh Lulu Grace and Romy Purple Perfection

Next up is the purple contrast. I think I have spent more time thinking about what to make than sewing but the deliberation was worth it.  Another stunning set.

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For this set I wanted to make use of the purple powernet from Sewing Chest. I scoured my lingerie pattern folders as I still have some not yet tried. But in the end went with the Ohhh Lulu Grace Hipster and the Romy soft bra. Previous makes that had fit well.

The Grace is good for scraps of fabric and you can use woven fabrics on the bias for the centre front and back pieces.  Although I have used non stretch lace cut on the grainline when I didn’t have enough left from making a bra.  Fit a bit snug but still worked.  

This pattern is for regular elastic so the first job was to print out the pattern again and take off the elastic allowances off the waist and leg openings as I wanted to use fold over elastic.  The pattern has 1/2” seam allowances so I trimmed down to 1/4” making sure I marked this version of the pattern in red for when I use again.  This is where my plethora of rulers come in handy.  And, where no line I can use on my curved rulers I have the little seam allowance guide and I just join up the marks.  I bought the rulers after taking a lingerie pattern drafting class with Lorna Knight.  They have proved really useful both in drafting my own patterns and making adjustments to others.  

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This time I fussy cut the pieces a little to make sure I got some of the dark purple in each of the pattern pieces  Took a bit longer to cut out but worth doing.  I used a frixon pen to draw around one side and then flipped the piece over and drew around that so I could see the pattern piece in full.  If wrong just steam the mark and start again!

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The first step is to finish the front edge of the gusset lining as it is not enclosed in a seam.  I did this with what is called a double overcasting stitch on my sewing machine.  Not as good a coverage but I have taken to doing this on small sections when I am too lazy to get out the overlocker and/or not wanting to thread bobbins if I want the thread to match the fabric. Then on to the side seams.  I didn’t want the fabric to be seen through the powernet so I used my cover stitch with woolly nylon in the looper to keep the seam to the centre. Then I just trimmed the seam as close as I could to the stitching.

Just the fold over elastic to apply  I have found Evie La Luve’s guidelines to be a good fit.  I measured around the leg and waist and took off 1 1/4” for the leg and 1 1/2” for the waist.  My way of joining is to use a straight stitch over Stitch N Tear starting and finishing in the middle so I have no threads to cut off at the ends.  I then use a fabric water soluble glue pen to keep the seam allowance in place whilst I attach.  To finish I steam the elastic - it makes all the difference.  A great tip from Norma (Orange Lingerie).

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Moving on to the Romy.  The earlier version I made did ride up a little because the band elastic was not strong enough for purpose so I was going to use some wider and stronger elastic.  I meant to allow for this but I got carried away with fussing cutting the cups that I forgot to do.  However, the band elastic I used this time was much better quality.  BWear, one of the suppliers I use, does indicate the % stretch which is useful to know.  Looking lovely already!

The previous version I made was a lace neckline edge so this was a slightly different make.  You enclose the front upper cup edge between the front lower cup fabric and lining.  Although I matched the notches I was a bit concerned whether I had them in the right place but looked find when turned the right way.  The option is to understitch the seam allowance to the lining but I just trimmed the seam allowance down to 1/4".   

Then you enclose this front cup between the side cup fabric and lining.  Again I trimmed the seam allowance as very bulky with all the layers. 

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The bands are then enclosed using the burrito method. You pin the band to the right side of the fabric then bring the lining over like a sandwich.  Then you turn to right side so all enclosed.

The cups are then joined at the centre seam.  The instructions recommend basting by hand first as you have to sew from the very bulky fabric to the relatively thin mesh.  This can cause movement and the look depends on these points matching.

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You can either press this seam open or overlock and press to one side.  Pressing to one side, for me, is not aesthetically pleasing when using mesh but I didn't want to leave without finishing so I stitched a short line either side trimming back to the stitching line.  Not yet done in the picture but I then changed thread and did the same in white for the fabric keeping the seam flat and neat.

 

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There are no guides for the length of  fold over elastic just a gentle pull.  I am now getting a feel for what this means and the v of the neckline went well.  I am a little more enthusiastic along the underarm as fold over elastic is not as supportive as normal plush back elastic.

Then I had to make  decision at to what colour strap, band elastic and fastener use as I couldn't source the right colour purple.  A very difficult colour to gauge on a computer screen.  I went with white and it was the right choice.  Give myself a little pat on the back!

 

Part 4 – Evie la Luve Darcey and Binky

Part 3 - Evie la Luve Rosie and Esme

Part 1 - Cloth Habit Watson and Evie la Luve Binky

Summer Lingerie Part 1 - Watson and Binky Perfect Partners

A lot of the designers I follow use Spoonflower designs so I thought I would test some of the fabrics out.  My first purchase included some beautiful watercolour cotton spandex jersey designed by Crystal Walen with the lovely title of Mystical Floral.  The thought was to make a collection of wireless bras or bralettes for those hot summer days and obviously some coordinating bottoms.

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So what to do with the fabric.  Too many choices.  My first thought was the Cloth Habit Watson.  This is a pattern for a stretch fabric bra without wires.  Perfect for warm summer days.  I had made the regular version last year and it was a fabulous fit.  It is The only issue for me is that it does ride up a little.  So this time I went for the longline version hoping it would stay in place. 

Then had to decide what colour trims to use.  I ordered bra finding kits in navy, grey and turquoise from Fit2Sew along with purple powernet and lace from Sewing Chest.  Then found some plum, grey and ice blue fold over elastic from Evie la Luve.   

I really like the pattern instructions for this bra.  There is a good section about what fabrics to use and how this may affect the size you make.  What I also like is that Amy gives stitch width and length indications.  I found this really useful when I started my lingerie journey last year.

For the first set I went for navy as the kits include some pretty neckline elastic.  For the cradle I used sheer cup lining to stabilise the very stretchy fabric.  I cut the cradle in one piece after using my favourite temporary adhesive spray to hold the fabrics together.  For the rest I used a lightweight powernet lining.  

The patterns doesn't have you enclose the seams but I always prefer to do so where I can.  The inner cup is enclosed by the outer cup and then I baste the two layers together all around the cup.  My dilemma is always what colour thread to use when the elastic is a contract to the fabric.  I tried the navy but looked wrong so I ended up with white on top and blue in the bobbin.  The white did show slightly on the elastic but not enough to bother me.  Then I enclosed the cradle in the band and band lining.

You can just make out the mark for the 1/4" centre point mark where you sew up to for the first cup.  Then you sew the second cup from this point.  This was little awkward because the elastic had such a fancy picot edge but fitted together pretty well.  

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A year on and a little more fussy about the inside of my makes I decided to tackle the unfinished seam.  The next step is to topstitch the seam allowance to the cradle.  I decided to use my coverstitch with wooly nylon for the underneath as it gives great coverage.  Pretty pleased with the result.  All looking so neat and tidy.

 

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Before I put the strap elastic on I had to adjust the band as I didn't have a long fastener.  Quite a bit to take off so I got out my french curve to ensure a smooth blend.  I then pin the bands together and cut in one so match exactly.  Although a small kit the strap is quite wide but actually helps the look bringing out a little more of the navy.  The bow came with the kit so decided to use.

 

I found a tiny bit of navy lace which was just enough to make the lace overlay Binky which I have covered in earlier blogs.  This new pattern from Evie la Luve is so versatile and  a great fit.  Perfect partner for summer lingerie.  Pretty and comfortable!

Part 4 – Evie la Luve Darcey and Binky

Part 3 - Evie la Luve Rosie and Esme

Part 2 - Ohhhlulu Romy and Grace