Tag Archives: stretch lace

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!

Completed: Lace Marlborough Bras

1 Jul

Still on a lingerie kick here! Actually, these are old-ish makes – I finished both of these back in May. Whoops, sorry! Haha! I guess at least I can vouch for their wearability, since I’ve been wearing the hell out of these since I finished ’em!

White Lace Marlborough Bra

I’ll start with the first one I finished, a white lace underwired bra. This is the Marlborough bra pattern from Orange Lingerie (spoiler: so is the other bra in this post). I’ve made this pattern quite a few times, but what’s different about these two bras here is that this is my first time venturing outside the world of pre-cut bra kits. I already mentioned this in my Starwatch Watson post, so here’s the Marlborough edition!

White Lace Marlborough Bra

The white lace for this bra came from a new-to-me source – I have discovered a random fabric store in a REALLY random shopping center in Franklin, TN. I was actually heading into Aldi, prompted by the sweet siren song of cheap pineapples, when I noticed a sign 2 stores over that said “Fabric.” In the middle of a strip mall, no less. Turns out there actually is a quilting shop right there, called the Stitcher’s Garden (I don’t think they have a website). It’s like a quilting shop mixed with a thrift store – piles everywhere, products dating back to the 70s, and the prices are surprisingly cheap (especially considering the part of town we’re talking about here). The selection of quilting cottons available is staggering. I’m not one for buying (or sewing) quilting cottons, so unfortunately that was lost on me – but they did have a nice little selection of elastics and stretch laces! And several colors of stretch rib knit (which I will be back for, because, unf). This stretch lace was, I think, $1 a yard. It’s beautiful and great quality and it’s A DOLLAR A YARD. I bought 10 yards. I want more.

Anyway, I digress. It’s always exciting to discover a new fabric store, though!

White Lace Marlborough Bra

Back to Marlborough. The white lace is way too stretchy to actually use with this pattern – the pattern calls for no more than 10% mechanical stretch, and we’re talking about some spandex shit with the lace here. Taking a cue from my lessons learned during the bra-making class that I took in January, I underlined all the pieces with white power mesh. This worked pretty well, although I think my mesh was still a touch too light (we used a firmer power mesh in the class, with great results), so next time I want to experiment with tricot lining instead (I actually have a package of the stuff that I bought from Bra Maker’s Supply and I haven’t even opened it yet). I did not underline the upper lace cup – I left that with the stretch lace stretchy (I know the pattern calls for rigid lace in the upper cup, but I really like the look/shape I get with stretch), and a bit of 1/4″ clear elastic at the top to stabilize it, as called for in the pattern (I’ve noticed my RTW lace bras don’t have this, so I am thinking about leaving it off for the next bra). The back band is simply one layer of the heavier power mesh.

All notions were procured from my stash. I couldn’t tell you where half of them came from – although I do know that the underwire channeling was from Pacific Trimming in NYC. They have giant rolls of that stuff for super cheap, and the quality is excellent. They only have white and black, but the white can be dyed. I didn’t have any white ribbon, so the bow is nude.

White Lace Marlborough Bra

White Lace Marlborough Bra

White Lace Marlborough Bra

White Lace Marlborough Bra

White Lace Marlborough Bra

I made this bra because I wanted something to wear under my white/sheer clothing without show-through. I know that nude is actually a better color for that, but white was what I had on hand and I didn’t want to experiment with dying just yet. Of course, once I started trying to wear the bra – of course it showed through like CRAZY. Duh! I realized that it wasn’t going to get worn at all the way it was (if I’m gonna wear something that doesn’t require a nude bra, then I’m gonna wear a bra that’s a fun color because come on), so I knew it needed a good dye. I’d received a good tip on Instagram to dye the bra with tea for a nice beige-y color – brilliant! I steeped some very strong black tea (English Breakfast, if you must know), let it cool a bit and then dumped the whole bra in to soak for about 30 minutes.

White Lace Marlborough Bra - dyed with tea

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

The final color is something much closer to that of my skin. I know I’m pale, but I’m not literally white 😉 I was curious to see how well the tea-dye would hold up with a wash – and it’s actually stuck around! I wash my lingerie with Soak, which is nice and gentle and also doesn’t require rinsing (yay!). I figured if the color faded that I’d just re-dye it (I mean, it is just tea after all), but it’s actually not faded at all. Sweet!

The second bra for this post is my floral wild-card and Mood Sewing Network project for the month of June…

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

Oh yeah! I found this awesome Multicolored Tropical Lace fabric at Mood Fabrics and immediately knew it needed to be a bra. Isn’t it beautiful? It’s a nylon embroidered lace with a bright all-over floral pattern printed right on top. It also has a cool finished edge (unfortunately they were too abstract for me to include in this project, but it’s there!). There are a few different colorways of the lace, which meant I spent about a week agonizing over which one to get – blue/purple, red/green, blue/beige, and beige – but I settled on this multicolor as I liked the pink repeats with the white background.

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

I’ll be honest – I wasn’t sure how this was going to pan out until the very end (yeah, that was a bit agonizing!), but I think it worked out all right! I used the aforementioned multi colored floral lace for the body of the bra, and cut it according to the grainline on the pattern pieces (as I’ve mentioned, this pattern requires about 10% stretch in the fabric, which usually means cutting it on the bias for firm wovens. This lace had just enough mechanical stretch so that I could cut it according to the pattern grain). Since the lace has giant open holes throughout it, I underlined each piece with a layer of power mesh to add a little bit of opacity. The back band is cut on one layer of firm power mesh. The white lace upper cup is cut using the same stretch lace as from the first bra in this post, stabilized again with 1/4″ clear elastic along the top.

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

For the notions, I decided to go with all white so that the colors in the fabric would really sing. All notions were pulled from my giant stash – I think (think) the bottom scallop elastic came from Madalynne. I’ve been hoarding that stuff for ages because I think it’s really pretty, and this bra seemed like the perfect excuse to finally use it. Oh, and the rings/sliders and pink bow are rescued from an old bra destined for the trash 🙂

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

Sewing this bra was pretty easy, but dealing with the lace was harder than I thought it would be. Because there are such large open holes in the lace pattern, that meant that topstitching the tiny seams took some finesse. I don’t want to say it was necessarily hard, because it wasn’t, but it also wasn’t a walk in the park like my white lace bra was. There were always tiny little pieces of lace that wanted to stick up and poke out and make weird lumpy shapes. And you have to topstitch the seams, because they can’t be pressed (this is a poly lace). I actually wondered if I’d even be able to wear this bra under a fitted shirt, because the topstitched seams look preeeetty lumpy, but it looks fine. Of course, it’s WAY too bright to wear under a white shirt, but whatever. That’s what the nude bra is for, ha 🙂

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

Anyway, bra worked out all right in the end and I’m a happy camper 🙂 I really love the shape and the colors in the lace are sooo pretty! Yeah, that lace was $40/yard, but something like this only requires maybe 1/4 yard, so it’s a good excuse to splurge on the nicer fabric 🙂 Seeing this bra actually work out makes me excited to find more cool non-kit fabrics to make more Marlboroughs out of 😀

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

Speaking of cool fabrics for Orange Lingerie patterns – have y’all seen her newest pattern, the Boylston balconette? OH MAN. I saw sneakies of this when I met with Norma in Paris back in November, and I’ve been soo excited about it ever since. I just bought a copy over the weekend, as well as some lingerie foam, and I can’t wait to start playing around with it! Eep!

* Note: The multi-colored floral lace fabric was provided to me by Mood Fabrics in exchange for my contribution to the Mood Sewing Network. All other fabrics and notions were purchased by me. As always, all opinions are my own!