Dear past me

Here are 5 tips that I wish I’d known when I started sewing lingerie.

1. Cut the elastic an inch longer than needed so you have some to hold onto.

2. Fabric pulled into the bobbin hole? You can start in the middle and sew to one end, then start back in the middle and sew to the other end

3. Fabric still pulled into the bobbin hole? Use a little piece of fabric between each thing you sew so you don’t have long threads. Everytime you finish a seam run straight onto this scrap. Then sew straight from the scrap straight onto the next piece.

4. Skipped stitches? Use good quality thread and the right needle. Bessie (my sewing machine) won’t sew elastic without Gutterman thread with a stretch needle.

5. USA and UK bra sizes are not the same, Cloth habit has a useful conversion chart you can check out here.

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5 tools for lingerie making I can’t live without

1. A small rotary cutter

I’ve found pinning and cutting with scissors is not the easiest way to go with lingerie, some of the fabric is silky, and lace doesn’t pin very well. Instead I like to use pattern weights and a rotary cutter. I already had a larger rotary cutter for sewing with knits, but for little fiddly pieces the small one is sooo much easier!

Much like your scissors don’t use it on paper or you will blunt the blade, and cut away from your fingers (I was warned, what did I do!).

2. Duckbill scissors

These special scissors are great to cut the seam allowance back to the stitch line without accidentally cutting through your fabric. Really great for trimming close to elastics. I really, really can’t live without these.

3. Flat head pins

As mentioned pinning lace can be a bit if a nightmare, especially with normal pins or if your lace has big holes. These pins are longer, and with a bigger head so the stay in place better. Also, I think pretty!

Another good thing is when I drop them on the carpet I can actually find them again before I stand on them. Yay!

4. Little clips

Wow these are a god send, if working with little pieces, or with lace you can clip pieces together instead of pinning, or use a combo. They hold the pieces perfectly in place and save you putting pin holes in your pristine fabric.

The downside is that they can be a little chunky and get in the way so either remove them as you go or make a pin combo.

If you’re worried about using too much plastic how about mini wooden pegs?

5. Seam allowance measure

I use this to add or remove seam allowance from a pattern piece. This is useful if I want to change a pattern to use cut and sew foam, as you don’t make a seam, you just butt the two pieces up against each other. I’ve also used it if I’ve changed from lingerie elastic to fold over elastic, as you don’t need the allowance anymore.

There are different types of tool for doing this, personally I like these discs as I think they are super easy to use. Plus they have the size of the seam written on them which is very handy as I’d definitely forget otherwise.

I was unsure about adding links of places to buy these as I don’t really want to endorse a particular brand or shop, and I myself like to buy local. However, here is an example of each of these tools from Amazon so you can get a better look at them:

Rotary cutter, duckbill scissors, lace pins, clips, seam allowance measures

Mystery Panties – 5 Ways

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The latest Mystery Box from Bodils Wear arrived. Apologies for those of you who have heard me share my excitement about these before, but I subscribe to a box of mystery lingerie making contents for approximately £25, and it’s the most exciting thing when it arrives on my doorstep.

I’ve used the contents of this months box to sew 5 pairs of panties, using 5 different sewing patterns. Some of them are T&T patterns, some have been sitting in my drawer waiting to be tried out.

I have added in a little extra elastic from my stash as it went really well but I have some other elastics left that I haven’t used as I have ideas for them- watch this space.

So lets meet the patterns:

The Aurora Panties view A

This is view A of the Aurora Panties by Zazie patterns that I was recently asked to test, I liked my first pair so much I decided to make more. They are low rise, and have a cute lacey back which has a little more cheek coverage than the other two views.

I’ve used blue FOE around the edge of the legs and then a knicker elastic around the top. You need to add on the seam allowance around the top if you wish to use knicker elastic rather than FOE.

Bella

Bella is a pattern from Evie La Luve, I have only made this view as I just love them so much. I did slightly adjust the pattern, which you can see on a previous post, to make them a slightly higher rise. I used some FOE on these from my stash as the colours reminded me of watermelon. They are super comfy and pretty.

I can’t tell you how much I love this lace, easily my favourite bit of this months box it is just so beautiful,  just so soft, and I love the colour. ❤

Stella

I bought this pattern so long ago and I’ve only just got round to making it- why did I wait? These are from Studio Costura, and have both a lace option or a knit option.

I really like that they are high waisted and the front is cut in a bit more of a boy short style. They are really comfy to wear – I need to make more!

The Aurora Hipster Panties – View B

I made the ruched back version of the Aurora panties too by Zazie Patterns, as I loved the previous pair with the ruched velvet back. I ironed these so the ruching is a little squashed here, but nothing a good wash won’t sort out. This time I drew a line up the centre back with disappearing pen so that I managed to sew the elastic on dead straight.

I like that the ruching means they show a little definition rather than a uni-bum look. It gives quite an ordinary looking pair of panties a little flirty extra.

Tippi Brief

The Tippi brief is a pattern by Van Jonsson Design. I got this pattern as part of a previous mystery box whose contents I have just begun to use. This brief has a cut out window with a lace panel in the back, though I imagine it is not necessary to include it if you want a normal set of knickers.

 

They look really cute all together, matching but all a little different.

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The Aurora Hipster Patterns

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Please note that I received this pattern free for testing.

This month I was lucky enough to test the brand new Aurora Hipster panties from Zazie patterns, now available on Etsy.

They sit low on the hips and are quite a cheeky cut over the bum, so to speak. There are 3 different backs to choose from a ruched back, lace back and a cut out heart option. I decided to try the lace back and ruched back knickers. They are made from a stretch fabric such as a knit or stretch lace and use FOE.

My hips measure at 40″ which mean I cut a size XL. A long time ago I learnt to stop being vain about what size I am on sewing patterns and to just trust the measurements.

The instructions come with really great pictures which I found very helpful and including cutting it probably took me about an hour to sew each pair, maybe longer as I seem to spend a long time choosing what elastics and lace to use. As I wanted to test the fit, for these pairs I used some fabrics in my stash rather than buying anything new.

First up are the ruched pair, they are probably my favourite as I love the effect on the stretch velvet, they feel a little luxurious.

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On this trial pair the elastic used for the ruching went slightly off centre at the top; my tip to avoid this is to draw a line in chalk/removable pen so you can keep track of where the middle is. The photos make it look more wonky than they are in real life.

The other pair I made have a lace back.

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The lace backed version have a little more bum coverage.

The knickers are a good fit, the sizing is good and the instructions are easy to follow. I’ve already made another couple of pairs and they look great and are lovely and comfortable.

One thing to note is that if you want to use knicker elastic rather than fold over elastic you need to add on some extra seam allowance, this is not an issue as there are instructions on how to do it, but I kept forgetting! As a personal preference I would rather it was provided and cut it off than add it on, but this is only because I am quite forgetful.

You can see other peoples makes on instagram, search #zaziepatterns and #aurorahipsterpanties.

Thank you Réka, I like my panties!

The Mystery Marlborough

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I don’t know what it is about putting the word mystery in front of a product, but suddenly I want it so badly! I get so excited at the end of every month in anticipation for my mystery box from Bodils Wear to arrive. It costs me about £25 every month (you pay monthly no obligation) and you will receive a surprise box of lingerie making goodies that have been selected together . I have be a customer for 4 months now, and have been delighted every time. In fact May’s has just arrived and I am super excited- watch this space. (No I’m not being sponsored by her!)

Anyway I don’t like to post too early about them as I might ruin someone’s surprise but here was last months contents which was spring themed.

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Everything I needed to make an underwired bra. The lace is non stretch and the two white fabrics are a lining and a power mesh. When you subscribe you can choose to have wide notions or thin, I choose wide as I need some hard core elastics to keep the girls in check. Everything  is always beautiful quality.

I chose to make a modified version of the Marlborough bra by Orange Lingerie. It has gone through several generations of modifications to get a good fit and shape and now it is really comfortable to wear. I considered making another Angie bra but the lace was so lovely and delicate looking I wanted a continuous run of the lace edge.

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It sewed up pretty quickly as these days I know what I am doing. I’ve used lilac thread to top stitch the front, with white bobbin thread.

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The lining is very soft and I’ve used the stitch and flip method to hide all the raw edges on the inside.

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As I wanted to match the lace placement both sides, and as a larger cup size does use more of the lace, I don’t have huge pieces of lace left; but I intend to make some matching undies with pieces of lace, some knicker elastic included in the kit and some white power mesh I already own, which is less firm and therefore more suited to knickers.

One of the things I love about this bra and the mystery box is I probably wouldn’t have chosen this lace myself, but I absolutely love the bra and how fresh and bright the colours are. I love wearing it, it’s super comfortable and perfect for spring and for garments I have that need something a little more subtle under them.

A cut and sew foam Angie

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This is my latest version of the Angie bra, designed by Bodils Wear.  This is my third version, this time I wanted to try some cut and sew foam cups.

For the foam I removed the seam allowance from between the cup segments and from across their top and butted the segments close together, zigzagging across the join. I then bound the top with fold over elastic with a 3 step zigzag to give them a nice finish.  I sewed the lace cup onto the top of it so I could use the pretty lace edge, Because of this I have not been able to apply the elastic to the cups as per the original instructions.

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I have also changed the bridge this time around, it was so narrow that sewing the bridge in two pieces was extremely fiddly. I’ve removed the seam allowance for the centre seam and cut it on the fold.

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I also have altered the bottom edge of the frame, to use a Gothic arch and thin frame as I find it more comfortable as it stops the band from twisting upwards. This is a change I always make and I have shared details of the tutorials used on my previous post.

The lace I have used is from Etsy from a shop called VintageToLiveBy, which has the most beautiful laces. It is not a symmetrical pattern so I have balanced the lace on my cups so that the pattern lies in the same place on both sides. I’ve been hoarding it for probably around a year waiting for the right project. You can see the beautiful colours better in this shot from their website.

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The knickers are an edited version of the Montgomery Brief from Orange Lingerie, which I have chosen in this case as it combines the non stretch lace and stretch powernet fabrics I have used for the bra together.

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Angie II

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Having sewn up a trial version of the Angie bra from Bodils Wear, and fallen in love I made another version but this time in black with laminated lace cups. The laminated lace is from the Sewing Chest. it looks gorgeous, it’s very sturdy and gives fantastic support, I think it would have made a great corset. I personally prefer my bras to feel a little bit softer though so I actually prefer my tester in that regard.

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It’s fully lined, and I’m happy with the sewing.

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I forgot to change the bridge to one piece! Doh, by the time I realised I wasn’t going to unpick everything – Next time! I have kept all the pattern adjustments from last time, including a gothic arch, thinner band, and taking in the upper cup.

I wanted to have thin straps with these gorgeous heart sliders but the straps just weren’t cutting the mustard, so I unpicked those and put wider straps on, they were much more comfortable and the bra felt more supportive. Moral of the story – I need bigger hearts!

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It’s a great bra, it’s a very good fit, very structured feeling so it provides great support! I feel some matching knickers coming.