Stella


Oh I love this pattern! Hands down my favourite undies pattern, it’s from Studio Costura Shop, and I might never stray again. I’ve made this stretch lace version to go with my recent Silver self draft bra.


The lace I had, which comes from Bodils Wear, was a little too narrow for the pattern but Stella comes with instructions on how to deal with that.


You can barely see how each cheek is made of two pieces of lace.


I’m really excited that Studio Costura has now also released a new hack to make part fabric, part lace versions of the Stella, which you can get for free when you sign up to their newsletter!

Silver self draft

So this is my second self -drafted bra using the Kristina Shin method. My first draft shown below was really pretty successful.

I had some tweaks planned after this one, including moving the underarm 0.5cm higher to give the underwire a little more room, but instead I found some shorter underwires I like.

What did come apparent from wearing the bra was that I needed to take a little wedge out of the upper cup as the very top of it was too long as shown in this diagram.

Other than that I kept it the same. I made up my new version in a kit I had from Bodils Wear that I bought last year. The silver fabric is a non stretch, with a dark grey stretch lace over lay. It has silver coloured notions and silvery power mesh.

Such a beautiful sunny morning taking these photos!

The change has meant the upper cup lies across the top of my breast and doesn’t slightly gape, the bridge is flat against my chest and its comfy, yay! I would like to make the wing a little longer though, but I think it will ease a little with wear.

I’ve bought a whole bunch of extra stretch lace also from Bodil’s wear to make matching knickers. My pattern of choice currently is the Stella panties from Studio Costura, they vary slightly depending on whether you are sewing with knit or lace, but I like both options. This pair is underway, the lace is narrow so I’ve pieced an extra triangle together at the back.

They would be further along but at this point I lost bobbin chicken and got cross and needed to put the sewing down. And breathe.

I’ll post again when I’ve finished the knickers.

I’ve been drafting!

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Meet my newest baby – she’s a self draft using the Kristina Shin method. After losing so much weight I’m now too small for a lot of my patterns, and why buy them again in small sizes when you can spend a lot of time and effort recreating your own! Ha.

I have two self drafting books, the Kristina Shin book and the Porcelynne book. Having tried them both before I decided this time to go with the Kristina Shin method. To me this is the easier set of instructions, but it is based on a lot less measurements so perhaps will not give me an as accurate result? Either way I think it was a good place to start, as I have a pretty great first draft.

So here are my pattern pieces.

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I made some adjustments to it before even making a toile, firstly the wing. From my measurements I could just tell that the wing was too long and thin, I redrafted it by eye and using my single fitting bra as a bit of a guide, and then when I was sewing cut into the wing to make a scooped back, which is by far my favourite way to add the straps.

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I also realised that the bottom part of the cup was not going to have enough volume and cut two splits to add extra in before splitting it.

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So this is not my best sewing, please don’t judge me to much, but I was expecting to be unpicking it, a lot, to make changes, as it turned out it’s actually a damn good fit and I’m happy.

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So as it was a practice run I did not use any of my new kits, but instead scraped together some left overs to make my bra from. So I’ve gone for cut and sew foam cups, with scuba over lay. The band is lined with a non stretch lining, and the wings are just scuba as I didn’t have any matching firm power mesh.  Channelling and notions were left overs from my stash.

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A few tweaks to be made, I need a little more length in the channelling as it was a squish getting those underwires in, so it will need to come perhaps 0.5cm higher either side, but otherwise I’m going to wear it a few times to see what I might want to alter before cutting into a kit.

 

Iris Bralette

This month I’ve had the opportunity to sew the Iris Bralette a new bralette pattern from Primrose Dawn.

I chose to make this pattern as I really wanted to sew a bralette without a clasp at the back that I could pull on over my head and I loved the options for the front and back that were available.

The pattern is sewn up in a stretch fabric, I used a cotton knit for my first go that was in my stash, and a cotton knit lining. The plus side is that it’s very snuggly and warm, the downside is that it doesn’t provide as much support as some if the other suggested fabrics. There is a really good fabric guide with videos on the Primrose Dawn blog to help you make the decision.

Sizing wise the charts are in American sizing so watch out that there’s no DD cup if you’re British. My measurements somehow never tally up to the charts so I decided to sew my RTW size (32E) and I’m glad I did, though perhaps I could go up one more size.

The instructions are pretty thorough and well illustrated. I liked the way that all of the insides are concealed so it looks nice and neat. The only issue I had was getting a nice neat centre point where it pivots between the cups, I unpicked it many times until I eventually decided to sew a bow over it, I’m just waiting for the bows to arrive. There is now a video tutorial here that I really recommend watching. I also recommend hand basting that part together first, or sewing it fewer layers at a time!! Alternatively in future I might pre-draft to smooth the point out, we’ll see.

For the elastics I’ve gone for a combo of FOE and picot elastic, there is a guide to how much to use now on the instructions but I went for the wrapping it round my body approach. I stretched it a little on the under arms as weirdly I often get a bit of gaping there.

It’s super comfy to wear, as it’s not underwired it’s something I’d wear more with lounge wear. It was pretty quick to make too (other than my centre pivot episode), taking a few hours, and a great stash buster as it took very little fabric.

Here it is with my matching knickers.

I also loved this inspiration sheet which gives you ideas for other ways to make it up!

A new start

Hi all,

Welcome to an unusually serious post.

In the last few months I have lost a lot of weight, this is a really great change as I have been eating healthily and doing exercise. Since my university days I have been suffering quite badly with depression, I found it very hard sometimes to cook for myself or motivate myself to exercise, and I comfort ate for years. I had a bit of a moment this year when I went up another dress size, and several people thought I was pregnant. I joined Weight Watchers that day and I am so much healthier and happier, the exercise and cutting down on sugar have really helped with my mood. I’ve heard that people get runner’s high, where running gives them a huge high from endorphins – I’m happy when it’s over – does that count?

What’s this got to do with anything – well barely any of my clothes fit anymore! All of my bras seem baggy, a very sexy look. This has been really disheartening because I spent so many hours making testers for my favourite bra patterns, adjusting them so I got a really good fit and it feels like it has been a bit of a waste. Consequently I’ve had a little bit of a break from sewing bras to get ready to start from scratch all over again.

I’ve gone from a UK 34G to about a 32DD/E.A downside of this is that some of the patterns I bought in the larger pattern size no longer cater for me- and I would need to buy them again. It is a bit upsetting as some of them were fairly expensive – because of this I’ve decided to try drafting again (I did start this but my previous attempts are also now inaccurate).

I’m not sure which method to start with, though I really like that the Bare Essentials book has a Facebook support group which has been really helpful, and I know the ladies in there are very happy with the results!

An upside is that I bought a whole bunch of new kits back in the spring summer and now I get to use them, they are very pretty, one from Emerald Erin and several from Bodils Wear, plus I just received my latest Mystery Box (some gorgeous bits in there!!)

From Bodils Wear I purchased these two kits.

I’m really loving the rose gold detail on the lace, and these sliders and rings are making me just so happy.

From Emerald Erin I bought this kit after seeing a Black Beauty bra made up in it.

I’m struggling a little with the concept of cutting into such beautiful lace! Also I love that she’s changed to paper packaging!

So the books and the tape measure are out, here we go… I’ll write an update with my progress.

Thank you all for the inspiration!

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.

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