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

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!