Tag Archives: lingerie

Completed: Yellow Lace Marlborough Bra

5 Jul

Still playing catch-up with old makes here!

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

This bra was finished over a month ago, just before my family took our annual family vacation (we went to Charlestown instead of Florida this year! It was awesome, even if it did rain the entire weekend we were there, ha). I am one of those people who feels the NEED to have all-new clothes right before they leave for at trip (I’m not sure when that shifted for me – traditionally, I’ve always embraced vacations as the excuse to wear all your favorite outfits and feel smug that no one has ever seen them before so it’s kind of like they’re still new – if that makes sense!), and I try not to give into the temptation unless it’s something that truly fills a gap in my wardrobe. Considering the majority of what I wear in the summer tends to be either white or straight-up see-through, light-colored underwear – especially bras – is actually a fillable gap.

In the past, I’ve focused on off-whites and nudes – which, personally, I think are ugly and therefore really boring to sew (maybe your nudes are pretty, but the kind of nude that looks nude on me is just… meh. It’s like the same color they paint the walls of rentals because it’s so ~neutral~. Seriously, I literally repainted a rental once that was the exact same color as my skin. My ex-landlord even complimented it hahahahaha). However, someone pointed out to me once in the comments that lighter, pastel colors also work just as well, at least with my skin tone. I’m not a pastel sorta girl either – give me all the jewel tones! – but this feels like a happy compromise to me. And I can’t deny that the pale yellow lace is super pretty!

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

Once again, the pattern used here is the Marlborough Bra from Orange Lingerie. I’ve made this pattern to death – at this point, it’s more than paid for itself with how many renditions I’ve made. I love the way it fits my body, I love how comfortable it is (mostly because it fits right, haha) and I love how it looks, especially when sewn up in lace and has all those awesome scalloped edges.

I’ve mentioned this before, but this fabric combo is a winning Marlborough combo for me – stable fabric backed with sheer cup lining (except at the top lace edge, which is unlined). The top cup is stabilized with strips of Powermesh selvedge (rather than clear elastic – I just think it looks and feels better), and I like the narrower strap and band elastics with a 3 row hook and eye. My perfect bra!

I tried to mix this one up a little by converting the bridge to have more of an arch, using this tutorial from Emerald Erin. If you’re looking really hard and not seeing an arch – ummmm I don’t see it either! Apparently my angle was too subtle 😉 There’s even a painstakingly-matched seam up the middle of the bridge to accommodate my VERY NON-ARCH, all for naught, y’all. Whatever. It still looks pretty haha.

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

The fabric & all accompanying notions came from my favorite bra supply source, Tailor Made Shop! (this particular kit is currently sold out, but here is a similar one. Also, can we talk about how AMAZING this stretch charmeuse one is? Yeah, like I need another wild bra to add to my drawers haha). Ying actually came down to Nashville a few months ago, where we met up for hot chicken & beers, and she brought me this kit as a present. I’m only just now getting around to making it up, but I feel like it was worth the wait 😉

The kit includes everything you need to make an underwired bra – except the pattern and the underwires (I get my underwires from Bra Maker’s Supply – they fit my body shape well and I also have a huge stash I’m working my way through haha). It even includes enough sheer cup lining to line the entire bra, should you choose to do so. My favorite part about these kits is how the elastics match but aren’t all the same. There are both white and pale yellow elastics – matched up with the pale yellow lace and white mesh, and those little gold sliders on the straps… it all just goes together so well! I collect lingerie supplies like they are going to eventually stop producing them and my stash is currently enormous, but my matching and coordinating skills can’t compete with these kits!

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

I should mention, the one part of the bra that didn’t come in the kit is the little turquoise bow. I added that myself, from a piece of ribbon in my stash 🙂 It’s unexpected against all that white and pale yellow – I love it!

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

The good news about me taking so long to post this is that I can really comment on it’s comfort and durability! The bra has held up through multiple wears and washings (I hand wash my lingerie in the sink and lay it flat to dry – just FYI!), and it’s kept me supported and feeling beeee-you-ti-ful all the while!

Yellow Lace Marlborough bra

That’s all for this one! Just looking at these photos makes me want to make another bra, ahh! 😀

In Progress: Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

10 May

sewing with spiegel boylston bra

Hey everyone! I’m back with another bra post… again! This time, I’m trying something a little different though – I have made this bra *entirely* on my Spiegel 60609 machine. If you’ve followed my past bra posts, you will know how much I love using my old standby Bernina 350 for assembling lingerie, especially since the variety of feet that I have make things super easy. However, I was really curious to see how the Spiegel 60609 held up when it involves fussy lingerie sewing, so I used it for this project. And now I’m going to report my findings to you!

A few things I noticed that I think bear mentioning:
– I’m not a huge fan of the way the seam allowances are marked on the throat plate of this machine, as it makes it a little difficult to get a precise 1/4″ seam allowance. However, this is really easily solved by laying a piece of tape or even a Post-it note where your 1/4″ line should be. This is what I did, and it worked fine.
– The feed dogs (what move under your needle to push the fabric along) on this machine are AMAZING. Seriously, I didn’t have to pull my thread tails at all when starting or stopping a seam. The machine just pushed everything through without any snags or chewed up fabric – even with using silk crepe and teensy 1/4″ seam allowances. Color me impressed!
– The one downside I see to this machine is that you can’t move the needle in either direction – which is what I typically do to get accurate edgestitching (on my Bernina, I use the stitch-in-the-ditch foot and move the needle all the way to one side, it gives me a perfect 1/8″ without having to even really think about it). With that being said, I used the clear foot that comes with the Spiegel 60609, and found that the opening off the center of the foot is exactly 1/8″ from the needle. As long as you line this opening with the seam that you are edgestitching, you will get an accurate stitch. It does mean that you need to pay attention and maybe sew a little slower – but the 60609 also has a speed dial to slow things down, so no excuses now! 🙂
– There are a BUNCH of zigzag stitches on this machine!! For elastic insertion (which I’ll go over next week in part 2), I used stitch #226. I found the width to be perfect for what I needed.

The pattern I am using for this bra is the Boylston Bra from Orange Lingerie. This beautiful balconette pattern works for both foam cups and fabric cups, and features self-fabric straps and a really nice rounded shape. I’ve made it a few times in the past, and it’s a favorite of mine 🙂 I am making the size 30D.

For fabric, I am using silk crepe from Mood Fabrics (look familiar? I used it to make a top! Yay for lingerie using tiny scraps, ha!) for the outer, black power mesh from Tailor Made Shop for the back band, sheer cup lining from Bra Maker’s Supply, and black foam bra padding also from Bra Maker’s Supply. The elastics and notions are from various points in the NYC Garment District – I just have a giant stash that I pull from as I need stuff 🙂

I hope you like watching step by step progress shots, because that’s what you’re getting this week! 🙂

The pattern has you start by assembling the cups – there are 3 pieces that are sewn together with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Don’t know why, but I don’t have a picture of this step. You’ll just have to trust me haha 🙂 Make sure you backstitch at each end, as it’s really easy for stuff to come unraveled and make your (lingerie-makin’)life hellish!

Making a Boylston Bra

For the foam cups, I cut all the same pieces and remove the 1/4″ seam allowances (more info on this here!). Then you butt the edges up against each other and attach them – in the same order as you sew the fabric cups – using a zigzag stitch.

Making a Boylston Bra

Here is what the pieces look like when they’re attached. Pardon my yellow marking – those are the pattern notch markings (I use wax instead of snipping, since the seam allowances are so tiny).

Making a Boylston Bra

Topstitching the pieces as instructed is also especially important, since a lot of fabrics used in lingerie don’t press very well. Here is what I was talking about in terms of using the foot as a topstitching guide – if you line up the open side with the edge of your fabric, as shown here, the needle will automatically hit exactly 1/8″ from the edge.

Making a Boylston Bra

The fabric straps are folded in half and then sewn to the top of the cups, as shown, with the folded edge facing the center of the bra (the raw edges will be finished with elastic eventually).

Making a Boylston Bra

Next, the foam cup is placed against the right side of the fabric cup, and pinned into place along the top edge. I also like to run that edge of the foam under the serger (with a 3 thread overlock) just to help flatten things a bit more, but that’s an optional step. Sew this seam at the normal 1/4″.

Making a Boylston Bra

After sewing, you flip the foam to the inside and pull the fabric cup taunt to the edges, and pin everything down. This might require a bit of finessing with the fabric, which is normal! It’s also normal to have some excess fabric that needs to be trimmed off. I love how this finishes the top edge of the cup and also catches the strap! Once everything is as smooth as you can get it, go ahead and baste around the raw edges to secure everything, and then trim off any excess fabric so it’s even with the edge of the foam.

Making a Boylston Bra

Assembling the bridge, cradle, and band are similar to assembling the cups – use 1/4″ seam allowances and follow the topstitching guide in the pattern. I chose to line my bridge and cradle with sheer cup lining, because it gives some extra stability to the silk crepe. Also, you can use the lining to encase the raw edges so the inside is nice and clean! You just want to lay your pieces so the fabric is on the right side, and the cup lining is on the wrong side – with the seam you’re attaching sandwiched in the middle. After sewing the seam, the outer fabric and cup lining flip up to cover the raw edges.

 

Making a Boylston Bra

After the cups and bridge/frame/band are assembled, then you put them together (and THEN it really starts to look like a bra!). This part can seem a little fiddly, but it’s doable as long as you go slow and be mindful of what you’re sewing (again, slowing down the speed on the machine helps a lot). I find it helpful to use less pins – since you’re sewing a convex curve to a concave curve, you want to be able to stretch and pull the curves as you approach them (and pinning too much can limit that, at least in my experience). I pin the beginning and end of the seam, and the notch points marked on the pattern. That’s it! Another tip is always start at the center front – it’s very important to get those edges lined up perfectly.

Making a Boylston Bra

Once everything is attached and I’m happy with how it looks, I trim down the foam seam allowance to reduce bulk. Time to add the underwire channeling! 😀 😀 😀

Making a Boylston Bra

I find this step a little weird to explain and even harder to photograph, so here’s a picture of the instructions. The channeling gets attached to ONLY the cups of the bra, right on the seam allowance. Ideally, I like to be right along the seamline that I just sewed, but close enough is good enough 🙂

Making a Boylston Bra

Again, the little notch in the clear foot that comes with the 60609 is perfect for lining up a 1/8″ seam allowance when attaching the casing. Sew all the way around until you get to about 1/2″-3/4″ away from the edge at the underarm, and leave that part unsewn (this will make it easier to attach the underarm elastic).

Making a Boylston Bra

Here’s the casing after it’s been attached! For now, only one side is sewn down – the other side will be sewn once some of the elastics have been added.

Making a Boylston Bra

I think that’s enough bra talk for today! 🙂 Next week, I’ll go over the steps for attaching the elastic and finishing the bra – aka THE FUN PART – and showing my completed Boylston! As always, let me know if you have any questions about this part of the process! 🙂

One more thing! We have a giveaway winner from last week! After some careful contemplation (aka Random Number Generator, hey-o!), our winner issssss….

winner

Yay congratulations, Rosemary!! I can’t wait to see what you make with your voucher! 😀

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway – and big thanks Contrado for your awesomely generous prize donation!

I’ll be back next week to finish that bra! Stay tuned!

Completed: Marlborough Bras for Spring (also some life-y updates, yay)

5 May

I say this every time I post about this subject, but I love making bras. Hell, I really love not having to buy bras. I just realized the last bra I actually purchased was when I was in London back in 2014. Pretty sweet!

Anyway, I don’t have a new bra pattern to share or even new techniques to talk about… so this post is going to be a repeat of most of my other lingerie-making posts. I really like how these turned out, though, which is why I’m showing you them! I used the same pattern for both bras – the Marlborough from Orange Lingerie – which is one of my favorite patterns to use (I also looove the Boylston, which is a foam cup – and don’t worry, I have a post for that to share next week HAHA). I love this pattern because it’s comfortable and supportive, fits me well with some very minor adjustments, and I think the shape is just beautiful. The fabric cups are really soft and natural looking (you better be ok with the world knowing that you are cold, though. I decided that was not something I was going to worry about anymore haha) and you can make it out of a really awesome variety of fabrics. After a lot of Marlboroughs, I’ve learned that my favorite fit comes from woven fabrics that are backed with sheer cup lining. I like slightly narrower straps (3/8″ or 1/2″, as opposed to the recommended 3/4″ for DD+) and a 3 row hook & eye. I use the size 30D.

Also, because I get this question ALL THE TIME – this is a fantastic beginner bra pattern. At least, it was for me! I’ve made some soft bras in the past, but this is the first “proper” bra pattern I ever made – with underwires and all that fun. The instructions are very clear and you can buy a kit that includes everything you need to make it. If you want more info on making bras, check out this post I wrote last year 😉

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

Bra #1 is really simple! I bought this sheer black polka dot mesh netting from Blackbird Fabrics (it appears to be sold out, but here is some in the white colorway), and Caroline threw in a black findings kit as a little bonus with my order. I can’t remember where I bought the sheer cup lining (I just got a lot of it so I have a big stash that I dip into haha) but it’s either from Blackbird Fabrics or Bra Maker’s Supply. Both are stores with I highly recommend, especially for their kits! Unfortunately, they’re both based in Canada which is a shipping bummer for us in the US. I’ve recently gone all up Tailor Made Shop‘s butt these days, and I’ve been really happy with everything I’ve received. And she is based in the US, so yay!

Anyway, back to the bra!

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

Since the fabric was pretty flimsy on it’s own, with a little more stretch than I needed, I lined every piece with black sheer cup lining- including the top where one would normally put lace. I thought about leaving that part sheer, but I think I made a good choice because I do like the resulting fit! Because all the pieces were lined, I was able to encase all the seams inside the layers, so the inside is very clean and makes me happy.

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

For the back, I used firm black power mesh on a single layer.

Flat bra shots:

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

All right, now for the second bra!

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

Bra #2 is definitely a bit wilder in terms of color, and yes it looks suspiciously like another Marlborough I made last year don’t you dare judge me 🙂 The fabric was given to me by Annessa – she was showing me something she made with it and I about lost my mind over how beautiful it was. So she offered to send me some scraps, which OF COURSE I accepted because I can totally sew a bra out of scraps! The lace is from Blackbird Fabrics – it was part of that aforementioned order – and the notions are just a bunch of stuff I pulled out of my stash (I think the strapping and gold hardware are from Tailor Made Shop, actually). I had fun putting this one together in terms of what colors to use – there are so many colors in the fabric, and I have collected a lot of elastics over the past couple of years! In the end, I went with white everything except the underarm elastic, which I think is really pretty.

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

Cutting the fabric was a bit of a bear because I was trying to place the colors with a bit of thoughtfulness, but I think it turned out ok! Honestly, I didn’t really like the way this looked when I first finished it – it seemed a bit chaotic with all the colors and piecing everywhere. But I’ve worn it a few times and have really grown to love it!

Same as with the black version, I underlined all the pieces with sheer cup lining (this time in white), except I did not underline the lace. I did stabilize the edge with a piece of navy powermesh selvedge. I think that looks and feels better than using clear elastic.

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

The back is pretty boring, although it does have purple topstitching 🙂 I just used firm powermesh for the back pieces, again, one layer.

And the flat shots:

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

The inside definitely doesn’t look as good as the black one. For one, my dark topstitching doesn’t work with the white interior (go figure?). I should have threaded two machines but I was feeling lazy (although I did at least put white in the bobbin when I sewed the band elastic). Further, I should have changed out that pink serging thread for white – or better, made that open seam the one right below the cups, as it would have been covered by the underwire casing and elastic. Whatever!

So those are the bras! Now let’s talk about meeeee!! I’ve already mentioned most of this stuff on Instagram, but I realize that a lot of y’all probably don’t use/follow me on Insta, and also, I can just go into more detail here!

First of all – as of March, I am no longer working for Elizabeth Suzann. Everything is fine between us – I just got a really good offer for another job that I couldn’t refuse (and unfortunately, I can’t do both because there are only so many hours in the day). More on that in a sec! I absolutely love love LOVED working for Elizabeth – her and her husband, Chris, are some of the best bosses I’ve ever had, and my coworkers were just fucking amazing. I had so much fun on the days that I worked there, and I never really felt like it was a job. Every day was different, and I liked challenging myself to do things faster while still being accurate. Of course, it helps to be somewhere where you feel appreciated and valued, which I certainly did! Liz is always looking for fabulous new seamstresses, by the way, so if you’re in Nashville and have some sewing skills, you should definitely apply! I can’t say enough good things about the company or the people who work there. I offered to help as a freelancer whenever they are overloaded with orders – so we’ll see, I just may be back from time to time 😉

So, hey, the new gig! I am now working at Craft South, which is an ADORABLE little crafty shop that Anna Maria Horner opened in Nashville about a year ago. We sell fabric, yarn, Janome sewing machines (which means I will definitely be buying a coverstitch at some point this year, hellz yea), embroidery and weaving supplies, handmade/locally made gifts, and just a general assortment of craft-based merchandise. My official title is “Education Coordinator,” which means I’ll be handling all the class stuff – scheduling and coordinating, planning, making samples, etc. I’m working alongside Anna and we have got some super awesome stuff in the plans for this summer! I’m also teaching Beginner Garment Basics classes – next up is this Breezy Caftan on 5/12 – and whatever else I can dream up, cos guys, I love teaching sewing 🙂 ALSO, I’ll be manning the registers and fabric cutting like a normal retail shop person on Tuesdays and Fridays – so if you’re in Nashville, stop by and say hi! Take a class! Support the local fabric store! You might even run into Anna Maria Horner herself, who is way cooler than I am 🙂

FINALLY, one more big change coming up – don’t laugh, but I’m moving! AGAIN! (and if this doesn’t surprise you – dude, get in line, literally everyone I’ve told this to replied with, “Yeah I was waiting for this to happen” haha) Honestly, I really love the house I live in and my living situation is totally ace (I’m in the middle of the woods with my best friend, so it’s like constant BFF night over here), but the reality is that I don’t like living so far from the city. If I could pick this house up and plop it back down into Nashville, I absolutely would… but that’s not how life works. My commute from Kingston Springs to Nashville is about 30 miles one way, which I’ve learned is absolutely killer for me. I hate it!! I miss being in biking distance of my job! I miss ordering takeout (lol jk I never order takeout or delivery but HELLO OPTIONS ARE NICE)! I miss having a 10 minute / 5 mile commute. These are things that are important to me. I’ve felt stuck here for a while now, because Nashville has gotten outrageously expensive now that everyone is moving here (btw – if you’re thinking about moving here, don’t. We’re full.). However, this new job has literally afforded me the opportunity to get out and back into the city. So I found an apartment in West Nashville (where I was before I moved out here, and also, my favorite area!) and I’m moving in mid-June! Yay! That means a new sewing room will eventually be in the works, too 🙂 I’m not sure how I’ll manage blog pictures since I don’t really like doing the tripod/timer thing in public, but eh, I’ll figure that out when I get to it. At any rate, if things get a little quiet here in June… that’s why. As a side note, I’m cleaning out my closets in anticipation for the downsize in housing, and I’ve listed a few of my handmades that I don’t wear on Etsy. Most have already sold, but there are 2 things still listed if you are interested – you can check out my shop here. Someone give these handmades a good home and the wear that they deserve!

And, in case you were wondering – only my cat is coming with me (cat is a deal-breaker!). The pigs actually belong to my roommate, so obviously they are staying here in the country 🙂

One last thing – it’s May, which means Me Made May ’16 is in full swing again! If you’re not familiar with Me Made May, it’s a month where you challenge yourself to wear handmades (every day, a few times a week, entire outfits – whatever works for you!). I have participated in the past (see: 2012, 2013, 2014), but I won’t be doing it this year. About 99% of my clothes are handmade at this point, and it’s pretty much Me Made Everyday. There’s not really a challenge involved for me to wear them, so it seems silly and almost a little show-offy to jump in with everyone else. Also, I hated doing the daily selfies 😛 But rest assured that I am still rocking the me-mades – today I am wearing my Ginger Jeggings, the Starwatch Watson bra, a handmade black tshirt (unblogged because, it’s a tshirt) and a striped hoodie (also unblogged. Man I’m behind on this).

:)

Anyway, that’s about it for me! Have a picture of my favorite part of my (current) sewing room. I really love this space, but it’ll be fun to set up a new one 🙂

Completed: Black Lace Boylston Bra

11 Mar

Ooh la la, y’all!

Black Lace Boylston bra

Hands down, this is definitely the sexiest bra I have ever made. Although, to be fair, it’s kind of hard to steer away from sexy anything if it involves black lace amirite.

Black Lace Boylston bra

It’s been a couple of months since I made this thing, which means I am going to have to dig deep into the recesses of my brain to try to remember all the little construction tidbits. On the flip, however, it does mean that I’ve worn it a lot in that time and can seriously vouch for the fit and comfort factor.

Black Lace Boylston bra

Black Lace Boylston bra

I used the Boylston bra from Orange Lingerie as the base for this pattern. Having made this pattern several times before, I did not make any additional changes to the fit (other than my previous edits to the back band). I sewed a 30D, which is in line with the size I wear in RTW. The big changes I made were in terms of construction – namely, trying to figure out how to incorporate both foam cups and a lace outer, while retaining all those cool little scallops that make the bra so pretty. I think this rendition is pretty good, although there is definitely room for improvement in future versions. Always learning 🙂

Black Lace Boylston bra

Black Lace Boylston bra

Like I said, getting that form cup + scallops gave me a bit of a head scratch, so I took to some store-bought bra snooping to try to figure out how to make it work for this lil guy. It appears that most RTW bras have the foam cup and lace outer cup sewn separately, and then tacked together at the top in a few places. With this in mind, I finished the top edge of my foam cup with a simple 3 thread overlock (it’s not really imperative to do this, as the foam doesn’t unravel – but it does look nice!), and then simply laid the constructed lace cup on top and lined the innermost points of the scallops with the edge of the foam cup. Rather than tack it down, I actually stitched all the way across. The lace is super busy, so the stitching doesn’t show- but it’s very secure. For the remaining edges of the cup, I followed the pattern as instructed.

I also had to figure out how to do the straps, as the patterns calls for self-fabric straps with a little bit of strapping elastic at the back. I actually spoke with Norma (she of Orange Lingerie, and the mastermind behind these patterns) at length about this when I met with her in Boston, and while she gave me some really good advice on how to do the fabric straps with a scalloped edge – I ended up not having enough lace to cut them! Whomp whomp. Maybe for the next one. For this particular bra, I had to stick with regular elastic bra strapping. I sewed the underarm elastic as instructed, stopping right where I planned on adding the straps (as the pattern is written, you attach the fabric straps and then sew the underarm elastic all the way up. Since I had no fabric straps, I had to improvise!). When I trimmed the excess elastic, I made sure to keep intact scallops so things looked more intentional. The front of the straps are attached with the rings going through a tiny piece of elastic – again, something I snooped on existing bras. The back is attached the same way the pattern instructs.

Black Lace Boylston bra

To get the scallops along the bottom, I used the same method of flat attaching the elastic, instead of turning it back, as I did on my lace Watson bra. Since having finished this bra, Erin has published a wonderful post on how to make a lace frame bra, one method which gives a beautiful gothic arch along the bottom (instead of the straight band you see here). I am really excited to try that method!

Black Lace Boylston bra

I really love the lace I used for this bra! This is the second piece that was given to me by Tailor Made Shop, and if it looks familiar – it’s because I also have some in navy (which I made into a lace Watson bra). It looks like the shop is out of this stuff in black, but they do have navy, pink, purple and white 🙂

Because the lace is a bit lightweight, I underlined all the pieces. The bridge and frame have sheer cup lining for stability (mine is from Bra Maker’s Supply, but you better believe I am excited to restock from a US source haha!), while the band pieces are underlined with power mesh. I didn’t underline the cups, since there are foam cups and that’s pretty supportive enough 🙂

All elastics and notions are from my stash, which the exception of the scalloped bra strapping – which is also from Tailor Made Shop 🙂

Black Lace Boylston bra

Black Lace Boylston bra

Black Lace Boylston bra

Fit-wise, this is one my best yet! The bra is super comfortable, super supportive, and gives me a really nice shape (hell yeah my boobs look awesome in this thing). It’s not a push-up, but there is definitely some lift action going on in there. If you would like to see a picture of me wearing it, click here. This should go without saying, but, again, PLEASE do me a solid and don’t post this image all over social media 🙂 Posting strictly for science purposes.

My only complaint is the horizontal wrinkle along the bottom of the bridge. It only shows on the outside, when I’m wearing the bra, which leads me to believe it’s from excess lace fabric in the front (the inside stays smooth regardless). Ugh! It’s not a huge deal – the bra is still wearable and absolutely no on has noticed (or at least pointed out) the wrinkle, so I ain’t gonna let it bother me. But the next one will be wrinkle-free, hopefully 🙂

Black Lace Boylston bra

Ok, I think that wraps up about all the bra talk I have in me for today! 🙂 Happy Friday, y’all!

Coral Lace Watson Bra (+ upcoming workshops!)

15 Jan

Coming back after a hiatus – even if it’s a mere 2 weeks – always feels a little awkward writing that first sentence. I have missed you guys, though! Thank you so much for all your thoughtful comments + general encouragement on my last post – I appreciate every single one of you! ♥

Before I bring in the fun underwear portion of this post, I want to address a few orders of business first. Promise I’ll be quick!

Peach Lace Watson Bra
But first, a bra to tempt you to stick around. Ooh la la! Enjoy that butt view in the mirror, too.

ONE I am having a difficult time contacting one of the winners from our Shutters & Shuttles giveaway in December, Shesewsswell. Both Allison & I have sent emails and we haven’t heard a peep back 😦 Neither of us are terribly keen on the idea of passing the prize on to someone else just yet (I would feel absolutely rotten if it turned out those emails went to a spam filter or something), but we will need to if we don’t get a response from the original winner. SO, Shesewsswell, pleaseeeee contact me at lladybirdlauren at gmail to claim your prize! There is a beautiful piece of handwoven, Nashville-made fabric waiting for you 🙂 UPDATE: Found her! Yay! 😀

TWO Upcoming workshops! First one is in March in Brooklyn, NY! I’ll be coming into town to teach the Weekend Pants Making Intensive at WORKROOM SOCIAL, which, if you’ve heard me talk about this class before – you know I’m pumped about it! This is a fun, 2 day class (3/19 & 3/20) at WORKROOM SOCIAL studios in Brooklyn, where we will cover all the basics of making a fine pair of pants – from basic fitting, to following the pattern, to all the little details that make pants look, well, like pants 🙂 This is a really popular class and it always sells out pretty fast, so if you want a spot you better act fast! We also have an afternoon of fabric shopping in the Garment District the Friday before, for those who need some guidance with selecting their pants fabric – or just want to take advantage of a Garment District tour and all the discounts! All the info for the class + shopping trip are on the WORKROOM SOCIAL website, as well as where to sign up! If you want to learn more about the class from my perspective, here’s a post I wrote about the first one I did (wow, that was a long time ago!).

THREE Other workshop! In April, I’ll be in Portland, ME, to teach another open-sewing weekend at A Gathering of Stitches! I had SOOO much fun teaching this open workshop last year, and I’m super delighted to come back for a second round! The workshop is in Portland, ME, and starts Wednesday, April 13 for a pizza + booze get to know you night, then four days (4/14 – 4/17) of awesome fun sewing times! What I love most about this workshop is that it isn’t specific project-based – you get to pick whatever project you want to bring, and sew away in the beautiful shared space, use the cool equipment (like the gravity feed iron), and hang out and socialize with everyone else. And, of course, I’ll be on hand to provide assistance and ~expertise~, as well as comic relief and general cheerleading 🙂 Whether you want to make a pair of jeans, tailor a coat, whip up a bra, get some help with fitting and making muslins, or just want to take a solo sewing hobby and make it social for a weekend – this is the class for you! Plus, Maine is SUPER beautiful (truth, if it weren’t for the winters, my southern ass would figure out a way to move there in a heartbeat. I already have my house picked out and everything haha) and full of such delicious food. For more info on the class, visit A Gathering of Stitches. Official registration isn’t live until February 8th at 12PM EST, fyi, but this gives some time to plan and save before worrying that it will sell out 🙂 (it sold out last time. Actually, we oversold! Whoops! I loved all 11 of y’all though! ♥). If you want to read a brief write-up of my experience with the class last year, you can find that here.

Ok, that’s enough housekeeping! Onwards to the undies 😀

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Actually, I don’t have too much to say about this project so I’ll keep this (relatively) short! This is another Watson Bra, which is a non-underwired soft bra pattern. Perfect for a first bra project, I think! The fabric + notions are a kit from Tailor Made Shop, which is one of my favorite sources for bra kits and supplies. Everything is sooo nice and the kits are just beautiful! The particular kit I used is for coral and light pink, which doesn’t appear to be available anymore, but this one is pretty similar. And this yellow one is awesome. Ok, enough, Lauren!

Peach Lace Watson Bra

I love the effect of the scalloped lace, and I wanted to use that to my advantage with this bra. This makes for some finicky cutting – not only do you have to be sure that you’re cutting the right edge along the scallops, but it’s also nice to mirror them so everything is balanced. Having made this pattern before with scalloped navy lace, I used that knowledge to make the coral lace. The elastics along the scallops are sewn flat and not turned back (such as what you’d do with a picot edged elastic), so the lace retains the scallops. Since the lace is pretty stretchy, I underlined the entire bra with the included powermesh. There was plenty of fabric in the kit for all this – I even have some left over 🙂 I guess I could make some matching undies, but realistically, I probably won’t. I have realized that I don’t like sewing underwear. It’s just… meh.

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Peach Lace Watson Bra

For the pattern, I used my normal size 30D and made the version with the normal band (i.e., not the long-line). Sewing the bottom elastic was a little tricky since there’s not much real estate to work with there – I used the included picot that came with the kit, since it was narrower than the 1″ stuff I used on my navy lace version, and that helped a little. I had originally requested the kit with the 3 row hook and eye, thinking that I’d make a longline – but changed my mind and thus had to change the hook and eye. I noticed that RTW bras just zigzag along the top of the hook and eye, so that’s what I did with this one after I trimmed it down. Then I melted the edges with a lighter to really smooth them out (it’s poly, so it works). I don’t think you can even tell there was a surgery on that thing. Go me.

Fit-wise, this one is ok. It’s not nearly as awesome and supportive as the longline versions – which I had suspected would be the case, especially since there’s no underwire to bear the brunt of the support. If I tighten to the tightest hook, it does help some. I reckon this short style is just better suited for smaller cup sizes. If you’re rocking a D or larger (or maybe even a really full C), you probably want to stick with the longline so you can take advantage of that support. It really makes a difference!

This is mostly a bra for lounging around and being all fancy in-house, because it’s PRETTY comfy. And it’s really beautiful on! I think lace bras with scalloped edges are just beautiful regardless, but this one is a lovely shape and the colors are just fantastic. I really love that the kits have different colored elastics that all match the lace, and that the hardware (rings + sliders + hooks + eyes) are metal. Even the strap elastic is fancy. LOVE ALL OF IT.

Peach Lace Watson Bra

So anyway, there’s that. Happy first post of 2016! 😀 😀 😀 Who’s got bra making on their reSEWlution list this year (I am so sorry about that awful word haha)? Who’s coming to NY or Portland? Shesewsswell, where areeeee you? Let’s talk!

Note: the supplies (bra kit) for this project were given to me by the Tailor Made Shop. The Watson bra pattern, however, was purchased by me! And all gushing is 100% my opinion 😉

Completed: Blue Lace Watson Bra

15 Sep

I’ve almost got my lingerie drawer in it’s happy place. Almost. Just a couple more bras on my list and then we are good!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - front

I REALLY like these Watson soft bras! I think they are so pretty, and also oh-so-comfy. I’m not the sort of person who really finds bras uncomfortable – even underwired bras – as I like the feeling of support above all else. However, you can’t deny how comfy this soft bra is! It’s a good bra for lounging around the house on a lazy Sunday (which is exactly what I do most weekends) or even sick days (which is exactly the case today. Wah!). And while I have a few comfy Watson bras already in my bra drawer, I certainly don’t have one that is this pretty!

This is definitely the prettiest bra I’ve ever made. Just look at it!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - close up

Always up for learning new finishing techniques, I wanted to try a few things with this lace bra. For one, I wanted to try an all-over lace band that incorporates the beautiful scallops at the bottom edge, instead of a picot elastic edge. All the bra patterns I’ve sewn thus far have been drafted for the elastic edge, but I see so many pretty RTW lace bras that use the scalloped edge and I was determined to try it out for myself. I also used the scallops on the edge of the cups, and experimented with a different way of finishing the scalloped edge of the cups. More on that in a second, though, because I want to talk about the lace that I used first.

I mean, the lace definitely makes the bra. I received this lace from the Tailor Made Shop on Etsy, right when Ying first opened up her shop back in June. It’s taken me this long to sew it up because I really wasn’t sure what to do with it – even the flat yardage is really really pretty. It took me a couple of months to decide how to cut the lace and use the scallops, and figure out how to finish everything so that the bra wouldn’t be too flimsy and would wear well. I’m glad I took my time with this, because I’m super happy with how it turned out.

Tailor Made has a lot of beautiful laces that are all suitable for bra making, as well as a selection of elastics, rings and sliders, underwire channeling – pretty much anything you need to make a bra. There are also kits, which I haven’t tried yet, but I’m really loving the color combinations that Ying has come up with. A lot of new stuff has been added since I first looked at the shop, and it’s all pretty awesome! I can confidently say that the quality of the stuff I received is really nice, and the prices are super reasonable. BTW, there’s a discount code at this bottom of this post – so either read on, or scroll to the bottom if you’re feeling antsy 🙂

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - back

Anyway, back to my lace (and bra in general)! I used the Navy & Silver stretch lace for the entire bra – cups, cradle, band – and cut it so that the scallops ran along the bottom of the band and cradle, and the inside of the cups (as drafted, the pattern piece for the cups is a bit too curved for lace scallops, but there is a tutorial on the Cloth Habit site about modifying your pattern piece to have a straight edge). The lace is pretty flimsy on it’s own, so I underlined every single piece with soft navy powermesh (I bought this when I was in Philly at the beginning of the year. It’s a bit less firm than I like for my bands, but it’s great for underlining to add some stability! And the color match is perfect for this lace). The cradle is lined with two layers of powermesh, going in opposite directions (the pattern calls for that areas to be first with no stretch, which I usually use tricot lining for that, but I didn’t have any in navy, so I tried the powermesh. Works pretty well! There’s a small amount of give, but it’s still pretty firm). The straps are made with this lovely floral picot edge elastic (didn’t get a good picture of them, but it has a faint embroidered floral design in the center and a picot edge on both long sides. It’s really pretty!), and I have white matte enamel rings and sliders as well. The rest of the supplies came out of my personal stash. Rather than try to match the navy lace, I just used white findings for everything and I think it looks really nice.

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - front flat

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - front flat close up

One thing that I really like about this lace is that the topstitching I did just sinks right in. You can’t even really see it, which makes the whole bra look really clean. And I love those tiny scallops! They’re so pretty. Cutting the lace to accommodate the scallops about did my head in, but it was totally worth it.

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - sewn elastic trim for scallops

So, here’s a little how-to on how I got the bottom scallop to work. With most bra patterns, they have you sew the elastic to the right side of the bra, then trim the fabric and turn the elastic to the inside, and topstitch (this is why you would use a picot edge; one side peeks out). This is a great finish, obviously, but turning back the elastic would mean turning back the scallops, so I lurked on some RTW bras at Victoria’s Secret and realized that they just sew the elastic directly the inside of the bra with two lines of zigzag stitching. Because my lace is underlined with powermesh, I cut the pieces to go all the way past the scallops, as shown, and then sewed the elastic to the inside of the bra with two lines of parallel zigzag stitching. I positioned the elastic so that the edge lined up with the innermost point of the scallop.

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - removing powernet from scallops

Then I used my applique scissors to trim the powermesh up to the elastic, leaving the scallops intact.

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - finished bottom elastic trim for scallops

Ta da! Here it is from the inside. Really easy! As a side note, my wide non-picot elastic is from, I think, Sew Sassy. I ordered a bunch of stuff from the site a few months ago, and was a bit underwhelmed with the quality of the majority of it. I don’t remember what this particular elastic was labeled as (either strapping or band elastic, I reckon), but it’s really ugly and I figured I’d never use it. However, it is perfect for this use here that I have discovered. Yay for stash hoarding! Haha!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - back flat

For the cups, the scallop edge needs to be stabilized so that it doesn’t stretch out of shape over time. Also, since I underlined the cup with the powermesh, I needed something there anyway to keep the two edges together. I’ve used clear elastic in the past, which works okay, but it doesn’t look that great from the inside and it tends to bunch up a little. So I tried something new – I used the selvage edge from my powermesh as a replacement for the clear elastic. It’s really soft – way softer than clear elastic – and it still has a good amount of stretch. It’s also a perfect color match for the mesh, obviously, so it’s almost unnoticeable. It gives stability, but it doesn’t pull or bunch at all. I LOVE how it turned out. Don’t care if this is the wrong way to make a bra – I’m doing this with all my cup scallop edges!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - inside flat

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - super artsy inside

Here are some more inside shots. I serged all my raw edges with a 3 thread overlock, so the inside is super clean.

If you want to see what this bra looks like on a real person, click here for a somewhat unflattering picture angle. Again, please don’t pin this image or anything! Posting this strictly for science purposes.

Now! If you love my Watson and want to try out Tailor Made Shop, you can use the code LLADYBIRD for 10% off! This code is good through 9/30/15, so get it while you can! Yay for discounts!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - side front

One a completely unrelated note – WORKROOM SOCIAL is officially moving to a bigger space next month! Besides being exciting in itself, this also means that my Weekend Pants Making Intensive has a couple more spaces open! If you missed the chance to register when it was last announced, you still have an opportunity now. The class is November 7-8 and includes the pattern, use of machines and tools (you bring your own fabric and notions), and snacks, a catered lunch and cocktails on both days. You can read more about it on the registration page, or in this blog post. This class sells out pretty fast, so act now or forever hold your peace 🙂 There are also some spots left for our Garment District shopping trip the day before (11/6), which is a nice addition to the pants class where you can check out the Garment District, learn about fabrics that are suitable for pants, and even buy the fabric that you will use in class.

Note: The blue stretch lace, white strapping, and rings and sliders were provided to me free of charge from Tailor Made Shop, in exchange for a blog post mention. All other supplies were purchased by me, and all opinions are all mineeee!

Bramaking: Tips & Tricks I’ve Learned Along the Way

28 Aug

bra making

Since I started my bra making adventure nearly a year ago (woah, has it really been that long??), I’ve picked up a few tips along the way, as well as figured out a handful of shortcuts myself. This post has been a long time coming, and I’m not really sure why it’s taken me ages to get it all written out – but better late than never, yeah? 🙂 I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on lingerie making (I’ll leave that title to people like Norma, Maddie, and Amy), but I’ve made enough to figure out a general idea of what does and doesn’t work, as well as navigate the really confusing parts that can confuse a beginner (like me!). Anyway, I hope some of y’all novice and afraid-to-dive-in-just-yet bra makers find this useful!

The first thing I want to address in this post is all those weird little notions and bits that you need to collect in order to make a proper bra. There are tons of places where you can basically pay someone to source all that stuff for you (kits I’ve used and loved: Bra Makers Supply, Grey’s Fabrics, Blackbird Fabrics. Obviously there are TONS more out there, those are just the ones I’ve personally tried!), which is pretty awesome and definitely what I recommend for at least your first couple of bras. The only thing I found confusing with the kits (at first, anyway) was that they don’t really tell you which elastic is for what. Further, while the pattern will tell you what materials to buy – it can be hard to visualize how everything goes together if you haven’t actually sewn up a bra before. I know I had a hard time wrapping my head around all that info at first! So I’ve made a couple ~findings guides~ of some of the more popular bra patterns, pointing to each notion so you can get an idea of where they go on the finished bra. I know some of these labels are a bit “No shit, Sherlock” (such as where the hook & eye go – haha!), but, whatever. No finding left behind blah blah blah.

bramaking - boylston findings guide

Boylston bra pattern // my polkadot Boylston bra

bramaking - marlborough findings guide

Marlborough bra pattern // my floral/lace Marlborough bra

bramaking - watson findings guide

Watson soft bra & bikini pattern // my #starwatch Watson bra

Some additional notes on elastics:

  • Kit sizes: You may have noticed that some kits come in sizes Small and Large. This took me a while to completely understand – but the difference in kit sizes have nothing to do with the amount of fabric included (or, maybe they do, but it’s not something I’ve noticed). It’s more so whether you need the wider elastics and 3 row hook & eye, or narrower elastics and 2 row hook & eye. *Generally* speaking, sizes D and above require the large kit, and sizes C and below use a small kit. That being said, it’s up to your personal preferences – I wear a DD, but I’m perfectly comfortable in a small kit (keep in mind that I’m a small DD, so a small kit won’t really work for the super blessed/endowed. My ~ideal kit~ has the narrower elastics, 1/2″-5/8″ strapping, and 3 row hook & eye). Some people prefer the look of the narrower elastics, and some people like the security of the wider findings. Your bra, your choice 🙂 But anyway, point being – when in doubt of kit size, choose based on your cup size!
  • Elastic width: Most patterns will include this information with the fabric/elastic requirements. Generally speaking, you want the wider elastic for the bottom band (so, depending on cup size – this is usually 1/2″ to 3/4″) and the narrower elastic for the underarm and/or top of the cup (that’s the 3/8″ to 1/2″, sometimes 1/4″). Like I said, I like the narrower elastics personally for me, but feel free to play around with widths if you aren’t feeling the pattern suggestion. The pattern you sew will be drafted for that width of elastic and hook & eye, so if you change the width too much, you’ll need to adjust accordingly.
  • Type of elastic: Ideally, you want to use plush-back elastic for all your lingerie sewing. This type of elastic has a wrong side that is slightly fuzzy (hence the name) and is intended to be soft against the skin. Of course, you can use any pretty lace edged elastic and/or stretch lace, but bear in mind that anything without the plush back may not be super comfortable to wear.
  • Bra strapping / rings & sliders : This is going to sound really fucking obvious, but make sure you buy the right rings & sliders to correspond with your strapping! I did not even think of this when I was going crazy buying bra notions, but those suckers need to match in width or they’ll look stupid (or be too tight to slide). Same as with the elastics, strap width is determined by cup size. Wider straps will give you more support, so if you’re rockin’ the DD and up, you probably don’t want to use 3/8″ strapping.

And while we’re talking about kits, the fabric can also be a little confusing! What pattern piece gets cut out of which fabric?

  • Main fabric: Totally dependent on bra pattern, of course, but generally you’ll cut the cups, bridge and frame out of the main fabric. The grainline on the pattern indicates the direction of greatest stretch on the fabric. Give the fabric a pull to figure out what that is. It might not be the same as what we consider to be the grainline when sewing normal clothes.
  • Lining fabric (tricot): For most patterns, this is used the stabilize the bridge. You can also use lining fabric to line the cups, if you so desire.
  • Powernet: Use this to cut your back band. You can also line with powernet, if your main fabric is a little bit too stretchy for the pattern. You can *also* use powernet to line the bridge, if you don’t have lining fabric on hand. Powernet is awesome!
  • Lace: Usually just the upper cup of the pattern. If you want to cut the entire cup, you may need to line or stabilize it (with the lining or powernet) if it’s too stretchy. For any flatlining, I like to temporarily baste the pieces together with a spray adhesive and then handle them as one (a tip I learned from Maddie).

Now I’m going to share with you my favorite PROTIPS for actually assembling the whole thing together. bramaking - pinning curvesPROTIP #1: Pinning

I know, the urge to pin the everloving shit out of every single piece runs strong and true. But bramaking is a little different, and you gotta fight those urges. Especially when you are sewing a convex curve to a concave curve, it’s actually easier to do if you don’t have to navigate an army of pins along the way. I pin the beginning and end of the seam, and any notches/seamlines that need to match. Also, try sewing with the bigger piece (the convex curve) on the bottom layer. The feed dogs of your sewing machine will help ease it in to the smaller curve.

bramaking - securing stitchPROTIP #2: Starting & stopping, part 1

One of the things I find the most difficult about sewing lingerie is beginning and ending those teeny little pieces with their itty bitty seam allowances. It’s hard enough trying to cram everything under the foot and get it going without having the machine eat it, but then you have to worry about backtacking each end as well. And this really isn’t a step you can’t skip, because you don’t want your seams to unravel when you start handling them. My solution is to use the “securing stitch.” This might have a different name, depending on your machine (and those of y’all who are using mechanical machines – sorry! You can’t sit with us). Essentially, it automatically backtacks a few stitches at both the beginning and end of each seam. Every machine is different, so you may want to pull our your user manual for this one – but on my Bernina, to backtack the end, you just hit the reverse button and it does it automatically (the beginning starts the seam with a backtack). It’s been a total lifesaver for me and my seams are always secure as a result. bramaking - needle downPROTIP #3: Starting & stopping, part 2

Another thing to use if your machine has the capabilities (again, those of y’all with the mechanical machines – YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US) (just kidding ilu use the handwheel for this) – the needle down button! OMG this is forreal the #1 reason why I own a computerized machine. I just hit this button before I start sewing, and every time I take my foot off the pedal, the needle automatically goes down and stays there. It’s brilliant for readjusting layers or turning corners, and you stitch line won’t go wonky from stopping in the middle. I actually use this button for most of my sewing, not just exclusively to bramaking.

bramaking - starting the seamPROTIP #4: Starting & stopping, part 3

Back on the subject of tiny seam allowances and hungry feed dogs. The easiest way to keep your fabric from getting sucked down into the machine at the beginning of a seam is to grab both thread tails and *gently* pull as you start sewing the first couple of stitches. This is especially important if you’re using the securing stitch – once it’s done securing, you can let the tails go and sew on with your life. Don’t pull the tails too hard, just gently guide them to prevent the fabric from getting jammed down into the machine, and make sure you catch the tails for both the bobbin and the needle (for some reason, it looks like I’m only holding one in the above picture, wtf). This is a good tip for working with slinky fabrics, too, even if you’re not making a bra.

bramaking - 1/4PROTIP #5: Keeping 1/4″ seam allowances

Most lingerie patterns have teeny little 1/4″ seam allowances, which can be kind of hard to keep consistent. Unfortunately, you REALLY can’t fudge this one because it can drastically alter the size of the finished bra if you’re not careful. My solution to this was to buy a special foot with a 1/4″ guide. It is the best thing ever. It’s also useful for topstitching (especially jeans!) and making the most adorable and perfect little 1/4″ French seams.

bramaking - using 1/4Here it is in action. The dull blade runs against the raw edge of the fabric, keeping the needle exactly 1/4″ from the edge. bramaking - 1/4And here is my finished seam. Ah! Perfectly 1/4″ from the edge, every time. Ooh, see my backtacking, too? Thanks, securing stitch!

bramaking- edgestitching footPROTIP #6: Perfect topstitching This is my secret weapon for topstitching, lingerie or not. It’s a special foot and it’s called the edgestitching foot. Besides the 1/4″ foot, it’s the best thing ever. You can also use it to understitch and stitch in the ditch, with little to no tears of frustration and/or wonky stitch lines.bramaking - edgestitching/topstitchingHere it is in action. The dull blade goes right in the center, and you can move the needle either right or left as needed. If you keep the blade against your seamline and move the needle all the way to one side, you’ll end up with a perfect 1/8″ topstitching line. I find this easier than trying to line up part of my foot with the seamline; for whatever reason, shit always goes wonky when I try to do that.

bramaking - topstitched seamHere is the finished topstitching. One thing to note – I don’t backtack my topstitching if it’s going to intersect with another piece. I only backtack construction seams (otherwise they’ll pull apart at the ends). Since I use a different stitch for each of these steps, that means I can keep my settings saved for each step and just flip between stitches. Which is super handy, because that means I don’t need to re-enter all my preferences each time I move from constructing to topstitching. I use stitch #1 for topstitching (with a slightly longer stitch length and the needle moved all the way to one side), and stitch #5 for constructing. bramaking - duckbill/applique shearsPROTIP #7: Trimming
Always trim seam allowances before flipping down elastic for the final topstitching. Some patterns tell you to do this, some don’t. I find it looks a lot cleaner (and it easier to handle in general) if the seam allowances aren’t flapping around while you’re trying to finagle a good zigzag topstitch. I also like to trim my seam allowances under the wire casing as well. You can use any ol’ scissors to do this, but I like using duckbill applique scissors. The way they are constructed makes trimming down seam allowances almost foolproof and you’re less likely to cut a hole in the seam allowance that you’re trying to avoid. These scissors are awesome for non-bra things, too (I bought them looong before I got into sewing lingerie) – coat making, grading seam allowances, applique. They also look kind of crazy and I like that a lot.

Ok, I think that’s enough for one post! I hope y’all find these tips useful and that it encourages you to start that bra making journey if you were considering it! To me, it’s one of those learning experiences that seems really intimidating until you actually start doing it – kind of like learning how to drive a standard transmission (and just like driving a standard, once you learn – it’s REALLY hard to stop doing it! Well, for me, anyway. I think it’s fun!).

I know I only just grazed the surface with these tips here, so – what are your best tips for sewing lingerie?