Thursday, May 28, 2009

Camisole Set

Continuing on my lingerie-sewing kick, I did a couple more pairs of panties and a camisole. I've never found a camisole pattern I was very crazy about, but I have kept my eyes open, and finally noticed some reviews of #128 from the December, 2008 issue of Burda WOF. I traced it the other night, decided I'd try it with a size 44 in the front and a 40 in the back, a trick I use with knitting patterns a lot. It turned out nice, and although I think I may add a little length to the bodice front next time, it's pretty cute as is. Here it is with one of the pants that match it.

Photo Link It's quite a thin mesh knit print, but the color and print make it seem fairly opaque. The bodice is doubled, as per the pattern instructions. This pattern has a longer version shown as a nightgown, which could be very nice.

Here are the other 2 pairs of panties I made.
Photo Link For these two I tried a method I saw in a review of a Jalie pattern. That pattern calls for hemmed leg edges with no elastic. The reviewer left the cut edge raw for a flatter finish, and seemed to be very pleased. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I did two pairs this way. I can always go back and put elastic on them if I decide to. I wore one pair, and I have to say I was surprised how they stayed put, and were very comfortable, and cute, too. I'm going to give it a longer test, but so far, I think it's a success.

The stretch laces on these are all from the group I got from Fabric Depot, and I like the way they look and feel. The white/gold panty matches one of the bras I made. Part of the fun of these is thinking of small embellishments or decorations for them. Of this group of three, my favorite is the 2 small knots.

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Here are some details of the camisole including the shell-edge hem, and the bows over the strap placement.

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And here it is on me.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stretch Lace A-Plenty

You can get a better look at all the photos in this post by clicking on this
Link to All Photos. Choose Original size for the best detail.

These are some of my favorites out of the treasure trove of stretch laces I got from Fabric Depot when I ordered one of their Stretch Lace Value Packs (4 pounds of assorted laces) and one of their Lycra Value Packs (10 pounds of assorted color lycras.) It was quite the bargain, and I did get some color choice on the lycras. Susan offered me pastels, brights, or darks, and I said I liked muted colors, and pastels were okay but not 'baby pastels,' and I didn't want any black. I'm not picky, am I? She said she thought she could do that, and I am very pleased with what she sent. I got 9 colors of lycra, each a very usably-sized piece, in varying weights and qualities. Some satin, some matte, all very nice.

And of course the laces are just utterly fantastic! Here's a view of the whole shebang.

There are really wide pieces, up to 11", and narrow ones of 3/8" with every size in between. There are 39 individual styles and colors, with varying lengths from a couple yards up to at least 10. Plenty to make all kinds of things that I haven't even thought of yet.

And now, just to make you drool a little....

The widest pieces.

Medium-Wide Pieces.

The Narrowest Laces.

There are some of the wider laces that are going to be a challenge to find a good/worthy use for. Some of them are galloons with matching edges on both sides, some are quite wide, with the fancy part usually at one edge, or in one case, with the fancy part in the center, and different patterns on each side. That one is blue, and about 10" wide. I'm sure it was made for a specific purpose, but it isn't coming to mind right away. You can see it below, and see what you think.

One of the most unusual pieces is this piece with an oriental figure. She has a small crystal in the center of her forehead. I think this is just lovely, and since it has to be used with the edge up, I thought of a bodice for a nightgown or possibly a camisole.

I thought this was very pretty, and kind of unusual, in that it looks like it's ruffled on the edges, but it's actually just embroidered to look as if it were ruffled.

There's some really nice white mesh elastic with scalloped edges that has the name Gilly Hicks, Sydney woven in the center every so often. I hadn't heard of her, but the website was interesting. There's about 3 yards with the name, and about 10 yards plain.

I've already used a few of the laces on some panties, and it's so much fun to be able to choose just the right thing from a wide selection.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I don't generally do these 'blog things' but I saw this on Gaile's blog and was interested. So, here's My Word.

Your Word is "Fearless"

You see life as your one chance to experience everything, and you just go for it!

You believe the biggest risk is being afraid and missing out on something amazing.

Sometimes your fearlessness means you're daring. You enjoy risky activities.

And sometimes your fearlessness means you're courageous. You're brave enough to do the right thing, even when it's scary.

I have to say that I don't feel very fearless, but I did say the other day that I've always felt like I could do pretty much anything I could think up. Maybe that's fearless?

Thank you all for the very sweet comments on my pink leopard set. I especially liked all the Grrr-ing.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Now It's Getting Silly - Pink Leopard

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This fabric has been in my remnant area for about 2 years. I originally used it for a Marfy tank top, and I thought it would make cute panties. I had some wide stretch lace, so I cut the 3-piece hipster pant, and used the lace for the top band. The pair on the right is this pair.

Naturally, I then began to think how cute a matching bra would be. This is definitely pretty far on the wild side for me, but since it's pink, there was no way to say no.

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I used my copied pattern, and for the different CF detail I copied a different RTW bra that had this same detail. It was fairly easy to do, as you simply cut your bridge shorter, fold the edge of the cup above the bridge to the inside, and stitch it to the channeling directly. Then put in a spacer piece.

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In wearing it seems to act just as it would if the bridge were solid all the way up. The thing I realized after I'd already begun is that the channeling and underwire would have to fold into the cup rather than away from it. I thought there would be enough stretch in the cup to make this work anyway, and by the time I realized it, I was pretty far along, so I just went ahead, and it seems to be fine.

I used double-sided plush elastic with ruffles for the straps, narrow grosgrain ribbon bows, and powernet under everything but the lace.

After I finished the bra, I thought I'd better see if I had enough fabric left for a second pair of panties. Since I was using a wide stretch lace on the hipster style, I knew I was cutting 2" off the top edge anyway, so I thought I might eke it out. I ended up with a seam at CB and a seam at the side-front that I put a small daisy trim over. I angled the seam to make it a little more 'planned' looking rather than a necessity, which is what it was.

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I haven't worn this set yet, so I can't say how it is over an entire day, but it seems to fit just the same as the others I've done, and I have to say I'm pleased with it, even if it is pretty silly. Sometimes silly is just right.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lingerie Fabric & Findings (By Request)

I've sewn lingerie at various times over the years, and one of the most difficult things about lingerie sewing is finding the correct fabrics and especially the notions. Fabrics are much more available than notions, although some of the specialty fabrics are tough to find, too. I promised BeeBee I'd give her some elastic sources, and she suggested I put it on Stitcher's Guild so that everyone would be equally enabled, and now I've been asked by an anonymous commenter to post the information here as well.

First of all, I have a post here (linked on the sidebar) called Fabrics and Findings Source Links that gives links for many online fabric and notions sources, including lingerie sources. I've been keeping this post updated since August, 2005 as I find and try new sources. The date of the most recent editing will show at the bottom of that link list.

A little idea of what you might find at these sites is:

Elastics for lingerie are often going to be against your skin rather than encased, and what you want is the plush elastic, which has one side that's very soft. There is also strap elastic, for straps, which is stronger and less stretchy. You can find these plain or fancy, and the plush often has picots on one or both edges to give a pretty finish that peeks out. There are some with ruffles or lace on the edge(s) as well. I ordered some printed elastic too, which is very pretty. Narrow and wider stretch laces can be used in place of elastic for panties too. Styles seem to come and go, so if you see something that's unusual, you may want to snap it up as that may be all there is. Don't forget that most elastics and findings are easily dyeable.

Underwires and channeling (a pre-made casing for the underwire) used to be the sticking points if you wanted to sew bras. They just were almost impossible for the individual to find. Now they're more widely available, and all of the sites I've been looking at carry them. The sizing is now the sticking point. Some of the sites measure the length, some measure the widest point across and the depth. It's very difficult, but some sites have PDFs you can download with scans of the wires to compare to your bra or pattern. I noticed that one site, ELingerieA, sells sets of 6 pairs in different size ranges so you can pick the one closest to you and then compare a range of 6. This seems like a good idea if you're not at all sure. None of the sites have interchangeable sizing either, so that's unhandy as well.

I would also suggest that if you're even slightly unsure as to whether you're wearing the correct bra size, you check out the (long, but very worthwhile) thread on Stitcher's Guild called Bra Fitting--Expert Tips. Even if you think you're wearing the right size, you may be surprised and pleased by trying some of the tips Dotty gave us from her years as a professional fitter. I know I changed my outlook and bra size a lot after finally taking it all seriously and doing the work of finding the right size.

All of the sites seem to carry about the same categories, but they all have different products for the most part, so there's a wide variety available. Some of the sites offer kits for bras, which is handy to start with because you'll get everything (or almost) that you need to make a bra. For the kits, you will have to order underwires separately, and also powernet if you want to use it, and for larger sizes, it's really necessary.

There's a thread called Lingerie Findings and Notions on Stitcher's Guild about this very thing, as I said above, and I'm going to copy some of the info from that thread here, with the vendors in alphabetical order, except the vendors Zora noted on Stitcher's Guild are all at the end.

Bra-makers Supply
is a Canadian company. They have all the supplies you'll need to make bras, undies, and other lingerie. They also have a blog with lots of info on how to do it all. They carry patterns, underwires, closures, very nice jewelry quality findings, elastics, fabrics, etc. There's a lot of help available here if you read through all of the posted information.

ELingerieA is a German site that has bra kits, underwires, channeling, all the findings for bras and panties including lots of lovely elastics. They also have different bra patterns than I've seen on other sites, with a much wider range of cup sizes. I still ended up tracing my pattern from a bra I have, but they do go up to an H cup in most band sizes. I found their pricing to be excellent, and their shipping on my first order was exemplary. They adjusted the shipping on my second order after I contacted them, and it was acceptable.

Fabric Depot has a low-tech website, and you need to call or mail in your order. They're in Texas. I suggest you call, because Susan is extremely knowledgable and is very happy to help you choose just which products you need from the huge inventory she carries. She has 9 different types and weights of powernet, for example, and it's nice to have her tell you which one she thinks would work best for your project. Elastic, underwires, hook and eye tape by the yard or by the piece, bra cups, closures, etc. She also has everything you need for skating/dance/swimwear/activewear including patterns from KwikSew, Jalie, Ezi-Sew and Elan. There's a catalog available to order, but she sent a free one with my first order. They also have what they call Valu-Packs, which is fabric, elastic, lace, lining, etc. by the pound or multiple yards with several colors/styles included. Could be very handy.

Lace Heaven has lots of elastics, and some other items. The prices are very good, and I think they are sort of a close-out place, with whatever happens to be going, rather than a regular stock. For example, I got some very nice double-sided plush elastic with Natori woven into it.

Lucy's Fabrics has some elastics and stretch laces.

Needle Nook Fabrics is Anne St. Clair's site. She designed the Bra Elite patterns, and has a full selection of lingerie fabrics and findings. You must call her to order, and she is worth talking to.

Pattern School is an Australian site which has lots of information on bra pattern drafting and explanations of the why's and how's of it, as well as letting you take "the lazy way" if you don't want to do it from scratch, by entering your measurements. It will spit out a pattern for you that is said to be a good start. I haven't tried that, but it looks like it would be worth investigating. The man who owns the site, Stuart Anderson, is a swimwear designer and does custom work besides.

Sew Sassy Fabrics is another good source and they carry underwires, channeling, elastics, fabrics, etc. as well. I've ordered from them in the past and been very satisfied.

is an interesting site for 'eye candy' and ideas. It's all in German, which is no problem for some of you, but not so good for others of us. The Inspiration and Gallery links are especially nice, but the whole site has lots of interesting photos of different lingerie items made up in different ways.

Bra Components is a new source (to me anyway) which will custom dye very small amounts of findings to match any Pantone color#. This would seem to be ideal when you need a very particular color match. They don't have a huge variety of styles of lace, etc., but when you're getting a custom color, that may be okay.

And here are the links from Zora, with her descriptions. Thanks, Zora, these are great links!

Kantjeboord is a legendary Dutch lingerie shop. They are specialized in kits complete with lace, fabric and notions and they ship international. Mind, the website is all in Dutch.

Merckwaerdigh is a dutch lingerie pattern maker who sells patterns and notions on ebay. She speaks English and she ships international.

Sewy is a German shop with patterns for lingerie and swimwear. They also sell notions and kits complete with pattern, fabric and notions. The website is all German but Bärbel is really nice and will certainly answer English emails. Sewy patterns have a reputation for well made instructions with lots of illustrations so if you understand German, give them a try. I think Elingeria sells Sewy patterns with English instructions, but I'm not sure.

Stickgarne-Martha is an Austrian seller on ebay and she has the cheapest lingerie notions I've ever seen and mostly good quality. She's a smoker though and sometimes what she sells smells of cigarettes. I solved that problem with the help of my washing machine but if you're allergic, you better don't buy there.

Wien2002 is an Austrian shop specialized in lace and lingerie notions. A lot of the stuff is sold at bargain prices but the quality is good. Again the site is all German but Angelika ships international and is very friendly so if you find something you like, don't hesitate to email her and ask.

Bra/Panty Set

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This time I did a set, with the bra from the same pattern copied from a Freya bra, and the panty is Stretch&Sew #2046,which appears to be OOP. I think I have enough lace and fabric left to do another pair, and I may do it.

The fabric is Shimmering Lycra in Nude Blush from Fabric Depot, and the lace is from ELingerieA. I think it all looks pretty good together. (I have to say I really like the lycra fabric color, and I think Nude Blush is a good description. The fabric itself is a little beefy and makes very nice pants. I am going to order the color swatches from Fabric Depot since there are 96 colors listed for this fabric.)

I dyed the elastics, straps, channeling, closure and cotton knit crotch lining with Rit dye in a combination of Rose and Taupe. I like the lace upper cup on the bra, and topstitching it on to the rest of the cup and then adding a scalloped border piece at the seamline makes it lay very nicely. The thing that surprised me about this bra is that the band is stretchier than the last one, and I used the same Heavy Weight Powernet (again from Fabric Depot) for both, except this one was the Nude color and the other was the White. They always say different colors of the same fabric may react differently, but this is the most obvious experience of the phenomenon that I've had.

One thing that happens to me with RTW bras is that at the beginning, the length of the underwire is just right, then after a wearing or two, suddenly I have 1/2" or more of excess length in the channeling, and I end up pushing the wire away from CF and stitching at CF to keep it immobile. This works fine, but seems silly, and if I don't secure it, it pokes me. I ordered 2 different lengths of underwires and have been using the longer ones. When I went to insert it into this bra, it absolutely was too long, so I used the shorter one, which isn't really very much shorter. After a wearing or two, suddenly I needed a longer underwire. Very strange. I will make sure next time that I use the longer one and make it fit since apparently that's what I really need anyway. Here's a close up of just the bra.

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