Who needs a reason to make more lingerie!

I don’t but I have lost so much weight since I have been back in the gym that nothing really fits so August turned into a bit of a lingerie sewing marathon. Luckily I have a stack of patterns to work with but picked up a few more along the way. So here are a few of my makes.

Emerald Erin Black Beauty

Emerald Erin Black Beauty

Orange Lingerie Devonshire

Orange Lingerie Devonshire

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Having found my most recent make, the Emerald Erin Black Beauty, to be a perfect fit I thought I would make another version. I was intending to use one of the tulle kits in pistachio or rose with latte findings but Nellie Joans posted a kit with mint and seashell pink and I was sold. I checked my stash and was really pleased to be able to put together a similar look using a Tailor Made kit. I added the nude foam as I wanted a pretty day bra without any show through. For a set I made both an Orange Lingerie Montgomery brief and a plain Evie la Luve Binky.

The tulle comes specially cut and laid out in two layers, with opposing direction of stretch and soft sides out, ready to cut into as a single layer. So much attention to detail with both the kit and the pattern means you get a bra that fits as it should. I pretty much followed the instructions except I added an extra layer of nude tulle so I could enclose all the seams of the cradle.

Luckily I had bought some stretch tulle from Small Bobbins which matched perfectly. A bit wary of using such sheer material for underwear I first made the Montgomery brief. This uses two layers for a no vpl look. A big favorite of mine as you can use just a scrap of lace. The coral and pink lace from Fit2Sew worked perfectly but I only had a small piece meant for the upper cup of a bra. I lined the lace with some nude mesh.

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The stretch tulle was so easy to work with that I decided to try a very sheer Binky. All three look absolutely amazing. So I moved on to using the scrap of lace left. I wanted something to match the first Black Beauty and went back to another Emerald Erin pattern, the Tuesday boyshort. I ended up photocopying the lace to make sure I could get a match. Worked beautifully with the pink bamboo also from Emerald Erin.

Around the same time the Black Beauty was released Orange Lingerie released the Devonshire bra. The patterns description says “I wanted to create beautiful uplift with delicate lace… Vertical seams are great for uplift and the result of the cup structure with the lace scallop edge is just gorgeous!” And that is exactly what you get!

The timing was perfect as it was released just as my order from Tailor Made arrived. I made up a paper cup to check the size and worked with that. For a little more support I added the navy foam (Fit2Sew) rather than line. Again I followed the instructions except for the front strap. Rather than a fabric strap I attached navy ribbon to the gorgeous neon pink that came with the kit to stabilise. I didn’t have a bright pink fastener so I made my own from pink duoplex using another Orange Lingerie pattern - the Leverett. A little fiddly but but well worth the effort.

As with all Tailor Made kits there was plenty of lace to make both the Studio Costura Stella Panties and an all lace Evie la Luve Esme which I hadn’t done before. The colours are just amazing and fit beautifully.

Without making this too long I just want to add two more makes. The first is the free Madalynne Raquel bralette pattern using some some beautiful lace and dot stretch mesh that I picked in person when she came over to London! I added a middle strap to the centre front and stabilised all three pieces. This is just so amazingly pretty and looks fabulous.

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And I thought I would finish with another beautiful Bra-makers Supply Ruby. This is the third I have made to match my diminishing size and their BCD method works every time! So now I am three band and cup sizes smaller than when I made my first. It looks and fits perfect. What I like is that it is made using supplies from relatively local sources. Evie la Luve is now stocking soft foam in beautiful colours along with matching powernet. This is called shell and is perfect with the lace from Sew Your Own Wardrobe. This is for everyday wear and teamed with another Stella.

I adjusted the pattern for a lace upper cup as well as a lace frame. As this is a four piece cup I carefully marked all the notches as well as labelled the corners to make sure I got the right way up. The foam pieces matched perfectly.

I made the cups up first and then added a tapered short strap which I had seen on Beverly Johnson’s Bluprint (was called Craftsy) Sewing Bras: Designer Techniques class. For the cradle I permanently adhered the lace to the tulle using Misty Fuse, another Beverly tip. Then I had to decide on the actual strap as the colour I thought of using wasn’t quite right. So with Strap-tember Bramakers Challenge in mind I cut a strip of the lace wide enough to wrap the strap. I then attached to the strap along the raw edge using the overlocker so I could then wrap around leaving the scallop edge on top which I stitched in place. What a result!

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This took up a lot of lace so after much playing around with the pattern pieces I went with the configuration that left the smallest gap. I already needed a piece for the middle as the lace wasn’t wide enough (good tip from Studio Costura). I matched the corner with a scrap of lace. I stitched in place with a small zigzag and then trimmed back to the stitching with applique scissors. As it is close to the seam allowance and the fold of the waist elastic you can’t see it. With no lace leftover I made the gusset with the powernet and looks fabulous.

And now for a break!

It's here - The Emerald Erin Black Beauty

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I came across Erin very early on in my lingerie journey when I was scouring the internet for patterns and supplies. This was before she had released any patterns but had a fabulous blog which has been the inspiration for some of my favorite makes. From bra making to swimwear the kits and supplies are some of the best I have come across. I have made up a number of the Jordy Bralette and the Tuesday Boy Shorts, the first patterns released, with great success and I have been eagerly awaiting a wired bra pattern. Then the fabulous pictures came up on IG and the newsletter came out. Luckily I was just a couple of hours from finishing a big project and could get going. Here is the Black Beauty, everything I was expecting and more.

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This pattern was made for me with endless possibilities for using tulle, lace, foam and fold over elastic combinations. However, it was the lookbook tulle version with fold over elastic binding on the external powerbar combined with the underarm binding to make a double strap that said WOW to me. I was in the process of making a summer collection for myself using a combination of lime and coral/pink supplies picked up from SewyourownWardrobe and had the perfect lace for this. So I thought I would combine the lace edge with the fold over elastic.

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Then I went on a bit of a size revelation journey. The pounding on the treadmill has changed my body quite a bit and I needed to take a bit more care over the size I made as I always try to make a wearable version on any test make. I took my measurements and I came up with a 32D/DD (UK sizing). I was a few stone lighter when I last wore a UK 32 (although it was an A cup!). So first I printed out the two sizes and made paper cups and it definitely looked like I was DD. This tied in with the size 38 wire I use in the bras I make for myself. Reading Erin’s sizing blog for US sizing you add 4” to your ribcage measurement and I would be a 36C (which is what I make in Orange Lingerie patterns). So the 32DD it was. Although I have to say it never works out like that in UK RTW.

I printed out all the pattern pieces for my size as I was going to mix the two versions. Then I put them in piles of version A, version B and foam cup pieces. It is really helpful to have the seam allowances drawn in as it helps to focus when thinking which version you are using. Then on to choosing the lining. They all looked fine but the soft pink tulle was perfect. With only a small length of lace I tried to make sure I had some left over to make some sort of underwear.

I used the lace (version B) for upper and lower cup. The upper cup is enclosed by the lower cup and then you apply clear elastic to the neckline edge. For the powerbar I used the fold over elastic version A and rather than just turn under the top edge I also lined with bra tulle and enclosed the seam

I attached the cups to the cradle before attaching the bands as I wanted to see how the various powernets would look. It was a dream to put together as the cups, cradle and powerbar fitted perfectly. Again the soft pink worked best but as this was a light weight powernet I used two layers.

The bottom band elastic is only 3/8” but this is all I had in the right colour. Having said this it was part of kit from Fit2Sew (who are the UK supplier for Bra-makers Supply) and is an excellent strong quality so I thought it would be fine. On to the underarm elastic. A lucky break as just a few inches to spare! I should point out that my fold over elastic is only 16mm (5/8”) before folding as this is all I can get here in the UK in most colours. I have used the wider elastic that Erin stocks and is great especially for the sports bras I have been making.

I also couldn’t source 1/4” twill tape which is used to stop the FOE straps over stretching. I used some satin ribbon which was only an 1/8” wide as 1/4” was too wide for the FOE. My bamboo stiletto was really useful for tucking in the ribbon. Although its point is a little off centre due to being used to clean the iron after using heat dissolvable stablilser (another story completely).

To finish I used the strap, hook and eye closure , rings and sliders from the kit. The strap isn’t enclosed in the back band elastic so I finished everything else and then tried on with them pinned in place. Just right.

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With no green FOE left or the right colour pink and only a scrap of lace left I had to rethink what underwear I would make. So I got out the files and came across the Evie la Luve Frankie which I remembered had a number of lace overlay options. As this was for FOE or lace I adjusted the waist and leg by the width of my picot elastic. Again I was in luck with just 1 inch to spare! They look just perfect with the bra.

Well what can I say. This is absolutely perfect from what ever angle you look. The fit and shape is unbelievable. What more could you ask for - the sizing was spot on, individual pattern pieces for each size, seam allowances marked, clear and precise instructions and fitted together like a dream.

More and More Evie la Luve!

Although I’ve been very busy making things I’ve not actually made anything that hasn’t already been extensively written about elsewhere. Then along came several new Evie la Luve patterns as well as being asked to pattern test the next batch to be released shortly. First up was the Queenie soft bralette and the Jade side tie panties followed by the Effie crop top and Honey boyshort fit panties.

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I wasn’t sure the tie style patterns were my thing but enticed by a 20% off PDF and 15% off supplies deal I bought both the Queenie and Jade along with some wide plush elastic and a number of other items.

The idea was to make the Jade with wide elastic to match the Queenie. Not wanting the tie top I adjusted the pattern piece by finding the centre front and cutting as one piece on the fold.

The blush metallic fabric is gorgeous but extremely stretchy so I used temporary adhesive spray to block fuse to a nude stretch mesh to make it easier to work with. I lined the bralette with really soft powernet. One of my ideas was to ruche the top but when I tried it on it on with the Jade it looked perfect as it was. The Jade is a high leg pattern and I thought a very flattering fit helped by the gorgeously soft elastic. So a sparkly sporty take on the pattern.

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Then I was asked if I wanted to pattern test two more patterns. With lots of wide elastic I was eager to try the side cut out versions of both. I had some gorgeous scuba fabric which I had bought in a kit from the online shop and metres of black fold over elastic from a previous purchase.

Then on to which size to make. Back in the gym I have lost a few inches from everywhere and now I was in between sizes but stuck with medium as I was using the less stretchy scuba.

As with every Evie la Luve pattern the instructions are very well written accompanied by very clear photos. The Effie and Honey are really quick makes with great results. Although I did use the overlocker for the seams I first hand stitched the FOE in place first, as this is both bulky and slippery and has a habit of moving. I also overlocked the edges that were to be attached to the wide elastic as I think this looks neater than trimming back to the stitch line especially with a different colour thread.

The wide elastic was starting to fray and see through in places so I also overlocked the edges before sewing together and topstitching the open seam allowance down. I also marked the 3/8” line so that I could line up the elastic perfectly straight.

With plenty of material over I wanted to try the side panel version of the Honey. I found some scraps of black dot mesh (from a previous Tailormade kit which I thought matched the glamour of the elastic. A little over stretchy by itself so I lined with some blush mesh to complement the fabric. They were looking gorgeous.

The scuba was a little bulky to press to the centre so I pressed to the sides but with the mesh lined you can’t really see the fabric. Another perfectly gorgeous set. The Effie is such a cute make and a real useful addition to my wardrobe. Looking very glamorous in the versions I have made you will love the Honey pattern if you like boyshorts as there are so many variations to try - maybe some pink bamboo knit with black lace edge!


I've made a Sports Bra - Greenstyle Endurance!

Injuries and medical conditions under control we thought it was a good time to get back to the gym. Disillusioned with our old one, given the cost and location, we decided to join a gym in our village which is relatively new. It maybe be small but has all you need and is so clean. So this got me thinking about trying some activewear. Then by magic, Ying, Tailor Made blog, had a link to a review by Caitlin of Greenstyle’s Power Sports Bra. I ended up with five patterns as not only were some of them on 25% PDF discount but there was also a discount for spending over $50. So first up, as this is what I really needed, is the Endurance Bra. Matched with Sewaholic Pacific Leggings.

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Greenstyle’s website description has a lot to live up to, “This is not your ordinary sports bra.  It is the comfortable, front zip, no bounce bra you have been waiting for.  Step by step directions walk you through making an amazing bra that you can be proud of.  There are three different back options including a racerback, criss-cross straps, and also adjustable straps.  You will never have to buy a $80 sports bra again.” Well I’m pleased to say that it does!

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The instructions suggest you make a test version first and although, as always, I was in a rush to make I ended up with a perfectly wearable version. I took my measurements and printed out the corresponding pages. No need to trim the pages just tape them together. The cup sizes are also layered but I printed out the range in my band size so I could check the fit. I was glad I made a paper version using the foam pieces as the indicated size was too big and I went down a size. Then I had to decide which back option, so for simplicity I made the racerback.

The foam cups are made first and they went together smoothly. I always refer back to Beverly Johnson and use a zigzag 4 width and 1.5 length. Then on to the fabric cups. The seam allowance is 3/8”. For the first cup I followed the instructions and just clipped the seams. For the second cup I trimmed down so there was no need to clip and this is a much smoother finish. This is probably the fabric I was using but a thought for the next one I make.

You then stretch the fabric over the cup, pin and then baste in place. I have seen some comments about the foam not being lined but the foam I used has a silky smooth side which is fine next to the skin and the other side clings to the fabric keeping it in place. The option would be to line or use seam tape if this was an issue. I always sew with the foam on top, although pin from the fabric side, making sure my pins can be seen when I sew.

The cups are enclosed between the fabric and lining by first basting the cups to the back, right sides together, and then placing the lining, right side to the foam, and stitching in place. After checking the fit at this point, I then sandwiched the foam strap between the back fabric and lining. There is a link to a video which has you twisting twice but I found it easier just to place the layers.

Then you turn to the right side and there is nothing to irritate the skin. I prefer to hand baste the layers in place so as not to overly stretch the fabric before moving on to the elastic. The pattern calls for 1” fold over elastic. I could not find this width anywhere so I used the widest I had which was 20mm and it worked fine. I did use the matt side rather than the shiny side as it looked more appropriate for activewear.

There are no guidelines for how much FOE to use other than stretch gently as you sew. There are also no instructions as how to sew in the round for the armholes. I started at the underarm, leaving a tail and stopped a couple of inches before the start. With a slight stretch I marked where the ends should join and then stitched together with a straight stitch and went back to where I stopped and finished back at the join.

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Then you attach elastic to the bottom of the bra band. I used my overlocker so when I folded back I had a neat raw edge. I used a three step zigzag to hold in place and sewed with the wrong side up so that the fabric didn’t twist and sat on the already sewn edge. The patterns uses 1” elastic but it would be easy to adjust for other widths or adapted to use some of the printed elastics I have seen around.

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Just the zip to finish! This is why I wanted to do this pattern but also the part I feared most. I had a few separable black zips in my stash but I chose one with plastic teeth as you have to cut to length and sew the top edge in place. I haven’t seen any shorter than 10”.

Then on to the zipper guard. This is meant to be cut from a single layer stable knit. I had nothing suitable and I also didn’t like the idea of a non finished edge. Although this would work with scuba if cut neat enough. So I came up with my own version.

I cut out the pattern piece from some soft interfacing and fused to a piece of bamboo knit. I folded on the long edge and sewed around the curved edge and trimmed close to the stitching. I cut a little slit on the long edge and turned through and pressed. A neat, stable, soft guard.

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I don’t put zips in often but a tip I picked up when dealing with bulky bag zips is to use two sided tape to hold in place. This allows for perfect placement. I also used my walking foot having the needle as far to the right as I could.

First side done. Phew! Just the other side to line up.

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Whilst the zipper was up I placed the left side over the zip and marked both the zip and fabric so the top and various seams lined up. I taped up the left side, undid the zip and placed on the tape so that the marks lined up.

Well that went better than expected and works really well.

So what is the verdict. Although made as a test piece, and hence not my best sewing, it is a resounding success. I could easily do most of my workouts in this one. The fabric was bought by the weight from Abakhan and I have no idea of the composition, great for test versions, but know it is not the best for this purpose. Having recently read Melissa Fehr’s blog I know where I can get some great technical fabrics and can’t wait to make more and try the other back options. Next up as to be the Stride Athletic Tights so I can compare with the Pacifc Leggings.

Evie la Luve Havana and Ember Pattern Testing - So Exciting!

Well, we all now how much I like Hannah’s patterns so I was thrilled to be asked to be a pattern tester for the new Evie La Luve Havana bralette and Ember panties. I had been following the progress of the patterns and had even bought some Spoonflower fabric for when they became available. This is just so gorgeous. A little thought into the straps but other than that a really quick and very gratifying make.

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Strappy lingerie is not for everyone but if you get the fit right it can look amazing and still be comfortable. So with the Jamie bodysuit, Keyhole Darcey and a Frankie with a strap back under my belt I thought I would go the next step and go double straps. For the Havana the choice is plain front or with mesh and then single or double straps.

There are endless possibilities for the Ember but I wanted to match with the Havana so I went with version 4 front and then version 2 back with double straps. Then I had to check that I had enough strapping, rings and sliders as they are all used in large quantities. Good to go!

Not a lot of fabric required but I did need to fussy cut my little cat faces. The pantie front panel was easy enough. I just folded the fabric through the middle of the nose and made sure the face filled the widest part of the pattern. The Havana front was hard to judge as cut in one piece on the fold I didn’t want the two full on faces so I went with whiskers at the centre front with gave me two full faces at the sides. The alternative would be to have a centre seam but that would add unnecessary bulk.

I chose a very soft stretch mesh for both the lining of the Havana and the contrast fabric. After sewing the darts in both you baste together. I prefer to do this by hand with a silk thread which is easier to remove and doesn’t put any strain on the fabric. I then applied the contrast piece, pressed the seam down and topstitched in place before trimming back to the stitches for a neat finish.

As my mesh was very stretchy I applied the fold over elastic at this point. Personally I like to measure out the elastic and mark the middle and pin to centre front. This ensures I have matching sides. I then applied the plush elastic band followed by the underarm elastic and again, to ensure matching sides, I measured out the elastic for the underarm and matched the quarter points making sure I left the 2” at the top for attaching the rings.

For the front you use rings the same width as your strap elastic and the larger 5/8” rings are used for the sides. The third large ring is attached to the band at the centre front, leaving around 1/4” of the elastic showing. I marked both the centre of the elastic and the 1/4” as I am very fussy about accurate placement. I used a Frixon pen and with a quick shot of steam the mark is gone. Next, the shoulder straps are added. As always, I use a fabric glue pen to hold the strap in place, start in the middle, go forward to the end, reverse back and then forward back to the middle. This means I can snip the threads really close and the edges are really clean. I always fold the same amount and stitch in the same place. This pattern has a lot of straps and this helps the finished product look really professional.

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Then on to those snazzy double straps! I used both the technical drawing and the photos to ensure I had the fourth strap in the right place. It also helps if you attach the straps in the same direction as the photos ie. which side you attach first. I did not think this through on the first set and then had to mentally mirror the look as I had done the opposite side first! The finished product was well worth the effort. I knew the bralette would fit but wondered about the support and the fit of the straps as people have varied body shapes. There was no need to worry as the support was great and with the sliders on the straps you can fine tune for a fabulous look.

So on to the Ember. Either front 3 or 4 would match the Havana but I went with 4 as this had a little more fabric coverage especially with the very stretchy mesh. First you attach the sides to lower front. For finishing the seems I used my new Janome Air Thread which is a dream to use. After pressing the seams downwards you topstitch in place.

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The FOE is applied to each side of the back cut out before stitching the centre back seam, again finishing with the overlocker. This is quite a bulky seam where the FOE meets but I gave it a good press and followed the pattern instructions to sew a few stitches to hold in place. The leg elastic is applied next. Personally I like to measure and cut the same elastic for each leg and match at the quarter points. I now have enough experience not to do this but I am a creature of habit.

Next you stitch the side seams. I first hand stitched the FOE in place as it is quite bulky and likes to move. Again I pressed well and used a few stitches to secure. Then you add the waist elastic leaving the tabs for the attaching the large rings to the back. I had just 3” of FOE elastic left!

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Just the straps to finish. These are done just like the Havana so it was much quicker this time. I was coming to the end of the roll of strap elastic so I measured it all out before cutting. I did have another batch but a slightly different white. Unbelievably there was just enough but I had to use the alternative for the 2” for the tab centre front but as you see so little it is not a problem. Then for the big try on.

My verdict? I know what size to make for myself so this is advantageous. However, as with all the other Evie la Luve patterns, this fits true to size. I have very wide shoulders so bralettes without fasteners are harder for me to get on but the strapping is easier to get on than a full back band as there is more stretch. I made medium with 1/2” strapping and I thought that combination worked well. The look is absolutely amazing. Can’t wait to try the other versions. Next I need to find a friend who would like the Ember full strappy version. I have some gorgeous pink bamboo which would look fantastic with black elastic and findings.

Madalynne Simplicity X Kits 8229 and 8228 - So Beautiful

In between other projects I have been working my way through the Madalynne Simplicity pattern bundle waiting for the right fabric to come along. I was just so excited when Madalynne launched the latest batch of kits which included this beautiful white lace for the 8229 bra with a matching underwear kit for the 8228. Normally I would get a set out of a bra kit but with the underwear kit I was able to make three very different styles to match the bra.

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The kits come in a gorgeous presentation box that is reusable. What was really sweet was that Madalynne had added a wire size either side of the one I asked for - fortunate given I needed the larger one! I first looked to see how much fabric was included with each kit so I could determine if I could get more than one set out. The bra kit only really contains enough to make the bra but the underwear kit was very generous.

There is a set of tissue pattern pieces for each band size which includes all the cup sizes. I prefer to photocopy and then cut the size I want from the copy. The kit is for a foam lined bra but the pattern does not include the any instructions to make the bra this way. Having made a number of foam bras recently I made a further copy of the cup pieces to adjust for foam. I took the cup seam allowance from each piece. You can also take off the arm edge to reduce bulk when folding over the plush elastic but I have found it looks better if this is left. There is a video tutorial on the site on how to cover the upper edge which includes instructions on how to make the foam cup.

Most bra patterns include seam allowances for the width of elastic to be used at each edge. However, the Simplicity patterns use 1/4” so the instructions have you position the elastic 1/8” or whatever the difference is between 1/4” and elastic width off the edge of the elastic. In the past I have marked the line on the fabric so it is even. This time I have added the extra to my pattern pieces so that I can line up the elastic with edge of the fabric to make life easier. So I adjusted both the bottom of the frame and band by 3/8” to accommodate the elastic in the kit. The armhole elastic in the kit is 1/4” so no adjustment needed.

The frame is cut in one from a layer of the white stretch mesh and the dot mesh held together with temporary adhesive spray. This is still really stretchy so I left on the paper I used to cover the mat for spraying and cut through the paper as well. This gives a really clean cut and the fabric stays in place as it is slightly tacky from the spray. I played around with the lace pieces to find where I wanted the centre join. Elastic is applied to centre upper edge of the frame. I changed out the nude provided for white.

The foam cups went together well. I covered the top edge with a sheer cup lining following the video tutorial as I feel it adds a really delicate touch to the finish. I covered with lace cups and basted in place. Then I attached to the very stretchy frame before moving on to the back bands. I enclosed the frame between the two layers of mesh and powernet to give extra support and a clean finish,

The bra was taking shape and already looking beautiful. I applied the plush elastic before applying white chaneling rather than the nude provided. Then onto the straps. The kit comes with some narrow strap elastic to make the pretty version shown on the website. However, this version is not covered in the pattern and I couldn’t find any links to make the strap this way. So it required a little guesswork as to the placement and length of elastic to use and playing around a little but looks fabulous. Then on to the underwear kit.

I have used this pattern before so I had the pieces traced off and ready to use. Again two layers of mesh are put together. Then my sewing woes started when attaching the lace sides to the centre front and back. The mesh just didn’t like me. In the end I stitched with tearaway stabiliser underneath. A little press and all sorted.

I used the elastic guides provided as this worked well last time. However, I did overlap first and then attach in the round using the quarter method as I find I get a more even distribution.

A quick make I moved on to the Ohhh Lulu Claudia hipster, a contrast to the high waisted 8228. Another versatile pattern using any combination of lace and fabric. I made a lace back with the front using the two layer mesh combination. Then I went off piste and cut a lace gusset (which I didn’t need) out of one of my back panels! Luckily just got another back panel from the left over lace. You join the back pieces and then enclose between the front panel and gusset lining, remembering there should be a gap for the leg elastic to fold over.

I took my time to ensure all the edges matched up perfectly. So worth the effort for such a perfect finish. I finished the waist with some, what I would call, “off white” fold over elastic.

That was going to be it, but as I tidied up I thought there must be enough to squeeze something else out. I thought about incorporating the narrow strap elastic to match the bra. I have another Ohhh Lulu pattern, the Nora, which has a version with adjustable sides that I thought I could use.

This pattern uses fold over elastic for the legs so I had to add on the width of my plush elastic. I just used my curved ruler which has a 1/4” line to fit the line of the pattern and cut around this for both the front and back pieces as well as the gusset whilst the spray was still tacky to stop the fabric moving. Then I got the widest piece of elastic left and used temporary spray adhesive to place over the front piece as high as possible and then cut around the leg to match the front piece. Unbelievably, the gusset piece I had mistakenly cut out of lace was a perfect for this gusset. Just a little trimming needed. Both front and back gusset seams are enclosed before applying the elastic.

To finish I placed two strands of the narrow elastic level with the edge of the side front right side up. I used a small straight stitch to attach the elastic along the 1/2 seam allowance. I then folded the seam allowance back and using a small zigzag I stitched the seam allowance down covering the raw edge. You can do this seam enclosing the elastic by turning it back on itself but it can be bulky. I wasn’t going to make adjustable sides so I measured the adjusted width of elastic on my previous makes, added the seam allowance and attached to the back using the same method. Another perfect match.

And now for a rest - well onto my Sew Over It knit kit!

Pin-Up Girls Ruby Bra - definitely a jewel accompanied by the Evie La Luve Esme

Always eager to try new patterns I had been following the posts for Beverly Johnson’s Jewel Collection of bra patterns. As usual I get drawn in by a discount so when Fit2Sew, UK distibutor for Bra-makers Supply, launched their new website with 30% discount I stocked up on a few patterns! First up is the Ruby, “an off-set vertical seamed cup for the roundest styling, and a shortened upper cup for maximum lift”. A lot to live up to but, oh boy, no wonder I am obsessed with making lingerie.

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The pattern uses a unique sizing system based on your Bottom Cup Depth (BCD). Taking my own measurements in a mirror was a sight to be seen but hey, I’m an accountant and don’t normally have much to laugh about. I did a little more reading on Beverly’s blog about sizing and using her methods I came up with my RTW size. So I was really excited to see how well this would work out, although I need no excuse to get on and finish. For each BCD there is a band size which is your rib cage measurement. I made up a little paper cup just to check the size out against my RTW.

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I wanted to make this in lace so I first had to redraft the frame, following Beverly’s Craftsy Class, adding a seam allowance to the centre front and taking off the bottom band elastic allowance.

I also marked the foam pattern pieces in red so I didn’t get them confused with the fabric set.

Then on to the huge decision as to what fabric to make it in. For me this means getting the stash out of very tightly packed plastic boxes. The first choice was the leopard print lace. Again, another recent post, reminded me of this lace from Tailor Made. I chose a skin tone foam rather than black as I didn’t want the cups to be obviously foam lined.

Cutting foam isn’t my favourite task. I find it easier to draw around each piece and cut out separately. I do check both sides are the same size. Then I mark the notches with a heat erasable pen. This is a four piece cup so it is really important to line up each piece.

I really like pattern instructions that give you stitch sizes and this is especially important when butting up the foam pieces. As expected from a Beverly pattern, the cups came together beautifully and I could move on the to the covers. I should mention that you need to stabilise the inside of the neckline and underarm edges of the foam.

All the seams are opened up and top stitched on either side, close to the seam line. I trimmed back to the stitching on the upper cup seams so they lay even flatter against the foam. I then placed the fabric over the foam ensuring all the seam lines matched before machine basting all around the cup. I would normally attach fold over elastic in two passes but the pattern has you use a glue stick and then stitch in one pass with a small zigzag. As there is no stretching of the FOE this worked really well.

For the frame I chose to line with beige duoplex rather than sheer cup lining so that it would have the same appearance from the front as the cups, I used a temporary spray adhesive to hold in place. I opened up the centre seam and again topstitched either side, trimming back to the stitching for a neat finish. Next, I would normally put on the back bands but went straight to inserting the cups into the frame to ensure the lace stayed in place.

Then I put on the back bands. As I had adapted the frame for a lace edge I needed to ensure that the band extended past the frame to allow the fold back of the elastic. I then trimmed the duoplex back slightly so that when I folded towards the cup and top stitched it did not show through.

On the first pass you apply the elastic to the bottom band as normal, stopping at the point the band joins the frame and again on the other side of the frame. Then I turned the elastic to the inside of the frame, pinned at the centre front to ensure symmetrical and stitched down on the opposite side of the frame.

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I thought I would share how I attach the wire casing. First, I change from a stretch to a microtex needle and then I use my stitch in the ditch foot. I have the blade of the foot just covering the stitching line and I butt the casing up against this and move my needle over slightly to sew within the seam allowance. Perfect result every time.

With the underarm elastic done just the straps and fastener to do. As always I check the fit of the fastener before I attach the strap at the back. Just a little to take off. The straps are made in two pieces. The front strap should be reinforced with ribbon to stop stretching although I did omit this for my version. The only black rings I had were a little small and the foam front didn’t really want to go through. This is one reason why I leave the tails on my elastic. I overlapped the the underarm and FOE elastic to in effect extend and fold this over the ring. I hand stitched in place and then trimmed back to where I wanted the seam to finish. Then I used a small narrow zigzag to overlap the edge. So neat.

The bra used quite a lot of the lace so I had to think what underwear I could make. This just keeps happening to me, but Evie La Luve introduced an update for the Esme that morning! The PDF came in and within hours I had made a new version.

I put together two versions, using a lace front and a mesh back. This would fit perfectly with the look of the bra. I followed the instructions for the front, basting the lace gusset to the lining and applying picot elastic to the sides and then attaching to front. The updated version of the pattern finishes in a different order. The back pieces are placed over the front pieces, the waist elastic applied and then the backs are stitched together, finished by attaching the back to the gusset.

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I enclosed the back seam by placing one folded back piece over the other and stitching through all layers. You pull through to the right side and the seam is enclosed. This is the method I picked up from the Orange Lingerie Montgomery Brief, although this is the first time I have done it on a curved seam but it looks fabulous. Finally I applied the FOE to the waist in the round and attached the back to the gusset.

Well how beautiful do they look. I am getting pretty good at this lingerie lark!

Another astonishing success. The bra fits perfectly and is a fabulous shape. I just need some ladies who will let me practice in other sizes. And, Evie La Luve has also updated the Bella for even more possiblilites. Christmas sewing here I come.

Straps, Lace and Foam - Part 2

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I came across Sew Swimmingly during the #Braugust 2018 Instagram challenge and eagerly awaited the release of the Veronica pattern. Well, I wasn’t disappointed. How good does this look? I teamed with the side strap version of the Ohhh Lulu Nora. Great Match.

I thought I would make in one of the metallic mesh fabrics I had bought from Madalynne. The choice was based on the availability of the right colour strap elastic - blush it was to be.

There aren’t any pictures of the back so I hadn’t realised it was a pull on until I bought the pattern. A big issue for me with my wide shoulders but I thought I would make it to get a feel for the sizing of a new designer, for me.

it is really hard to get a good picture of the fabric but it is gorgeous.

I started with the cut and sew foam. The bra can be made without but it’s recommended for extra support. Unlike the Jasmine this pattern doesn’t have a lining to enclose the foam so I used some silky soft foam. Unfortunately I can’t remember where I got it from!! Once I cut the foam out I put a red circle around the foam on the pattern piece so I wouldn’t get messed up when I made this again. The pieces went together well. The pattern instructions do not give a specific size for the zigzag to use to butt the pieces together. I went for 4 wide and 1.5 wide as taught in the Beverly Johnson class “Sewing Bras: Foam, Lace & Beyond”.

Then onto the fabric. The mesh is so fine it had to be lined. As I had used the beige foam I needed a more opaque fabric than the blush mesh I had so I ended up using a lilac powernet that also had some shine to it. Rather than waste powernet I first cut out in the mesh and sprayed these pieces with temporary adhesive spray and then placed on the powernet as economically as possible.

I placed the pattern pieces back over to cut around again as the mesh had already stretched out. A tip I have picked up along the way is to place paper underneath and cut through this which gives a really clean cut with lace and lots of other fine fabrics. All my pieces were the same size.

As I had two layers of fabric I wanted to minimise the bulk in the seam allowances. I graded the side seams, pushed over to the side cup and then topstitched them down. The centre I pressed open and again used my stitch in the ditch for accurate topstitching. I trimmed all back to the stitching line.

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Next you place the front over the foam. At this point I machine stitched all along to keep all the layers together to make it easier to attach the band and elastics rather than just pin as instructed in the pattern.

I used the same combination of mesh and powernet for the band so I could enclose the front. The band piece doesn’t actually say cut on fold but it seemed quite obvious.

I did check the size against another pull on and it looked about right. After turning to the right side I basted the top and bottom of the band so there is no movement of the two layers whilst I attached the elastic.

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I have lot of pink fold over elastic to choose from but went for a baby pink from Minerva Crafts. There are no guidelines for the amount of elastic to use other than to stretch slightly to ensure it hugs the body. I am quite happy to use this method for the sides. However, for the front elastic I measured and took off an inch and marked the centre point so I would use the same on each side and on both sides of the curve. This seemed to work pretty well.

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On to the bottom edge elastic. There is no mention of width of plush elastic to use so I went with the wider of my two elastics which was 1/2”. For the band, the instructions tell you to deduct 2” from the exact measurement. For my previous make, where I just went with a gentle pull, it doesn’t hug quite enough. It is really important to trim all those layers back to the zigzag so when you fold over and use the correct size three step zigzag you are only going through the one set of fabric and the elastic.

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Then on to the strapping. The instructions say to use 3/8” elastic, rings and sliders. I only had 1/2” but that worked fine. Where there are multiple elastics going through the rings it would have probably been better to use 5/8” rings. Having said that, once on and stretched in place it looks fine. There is quite a lot of bulk when attaching the rings to the bralette and I would have preferred a longer straight piece to fold over. The satin stitching over the unfinished edge does look neat.

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So for a matching set. I remembered I had an Ohhh Lulu pattern with some side strapping. I had made a while ago and remembered the gusset was too wide for my body shape. So first I put the pieces together, taking into account the seam allowances and used my curved ruler to redraw the line I needed. Again I would need to line the mesh. This time I went with the blush mesh and cut in one piece using temporary adhesive spray again.

A pretty quick make after this. As the fabric is so stretchy I measured out the fold over elastic. For the legs I deducted 1 1/2”, 1 1/4” for the back and 1” for the front so I could get a snug fit. For the legs I divided into quarters to make sure I got an even fit . The waist I matched at the middle. I like the way the strapping is finished by joining at the seam allowance and then folding back on itself. I finished off with a satin stitch, again catching in the unfinished edge. This is so much neater than my first pair when I had just started to sew lingerie.

So the verdict on the Veronica. Whilst the instructions only have technical drawings and not photos, for me this was not a problem. If you are new to sewing lingerie, especially fold over elastic, it may be helpful to have a guide and maybe what width plush elastic to use. What I was impressed by was how well it fit and the look is sensational. I wasn’t expecting the halter neck to be so comfortable but it sat in exactly the right place. The adjusted Nora fitted perfectly and looks fabulous with the Veronica.

Straps, Lace and Foam - Part One

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After a major effort to get all my Christmas cards done I thought I deserved a little more lingerie sewing before I delved in to making the long awaited duffle coat. So I played around with a couple of patterns I hadn’t done before. First up I will introduce the Ohhh Lulu Jasmine bra with the lace back accompanied by the Ultimate Lace Panties.

I bought the Jasmine pattern last year as I loved the racer lace back version but had not found the right lace. On a promotional weekend at Costura Secret Shop I picked up this lilac lace as well as a lilac findings kit. I have only recently had time (and the will) to file away my stock pile and once I spotted these I thought they would be perfect. I always check out designers blogs before I start just in case there are any useful snippets. Right on cue I came across a tutorial about using cut and sew foam with this bra which uses a different technique to what I had seen before. Cut and Sew here I come!

With any lace pattern I mark the seam allowance so I can see where the pieces will meet. There is no separate pattern piece for the lace so you are not working with a straight line to put on the low point of the scallop. You are also matching in three places - centre front, cup and back seam. You then need to cut the pieces in foam and a lining fabric and include all three in the seams - unlike other patterns which join the cut and sew foam by butting up together.

I did start by pinning all layers together but this was very bulky and the layers were still moving around. So I basted through three layers for each piece, taking the stitches out after sewing the seam so I could trim.

There is a video in the tutorial which walks you through every step. The key is to trim the foam down to the stitching line and then sew through the foam and seam allowance flattening the foam. The stitching is not visible from either the front or inside as the fabric and lining are out of the way.

The back bands are put on next. The pattern does not tell you to check but because you have a lace upper edge you need to make sure the fastener will fit before you cut out, As I only had a 2 x 2 hook I had quite a lot to trim and you can’t shape as the scallop needs to be on straight line. The cup is enclosed in the band using the same method.

Next you attach the plush elastic to the upper edge ensuring you catch the upper edge of the foam and lining. At this point I had to choose between the blue and lilac findings. The edge of the lace is actually described as mint but the blue kit I had from Evia La Luve matched perfectly and I continued to use the light grey thread as this blended well into both colours.

Then you join at the centre front. After finger pressing the seam open I used my stitch in the ditch foot to topstitch through all layers. I then trimmed back to the stitching. Just the racer lace back to do!

A lot of bits of elastic to prepare but so worth the effort. I like to be really precise with my straps as I like them to be perfectly symmetrical. I mark the fold over point for each piece and use a glue stick to keep in place. I start sewing in the middle and go forwards and backwards and then back to the middle with a really small straight stitch. I trim back to the stitching and use a little fray check to keep them neat.

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It looks and feels beautiful and just needed some underwear to match, I only had two metres of lace and was grateful that had enough left to make the ultimate lace panties. They are described as a boy short and that is exactly where they sit. Different to my other lace patterns in that the gusset is enclosed rather than the point of the lace sitting on the gusset. This makes for a very neat and comfortable inside.


Then on to the new Veronica pattern from Sew Swimmingly teamed with Nora, another Ohhh Lulu pattern.

Evie la Luve Keyhole Darcey - Another Triumph

Not that I needed an excuse to buy any more Evie la Luve patterns but the Keyhole Darcey Add On was released just in time for Sew My Style November which is featuring all my favourite patterns - the Darcy and Willow Bras accompanied by the Binky and Frankie. Having just finished the very pretty Blossom Add On set I thought I would use up the rest of the very bright fabric from Costura Secret Shop and the fabulous coral strap elastic from Madalynne.

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The add on gives you the centre front pattern piece and the instructions to finish the keyhole and strapping. The shoulder straps are also completed in a different way with the sliders at the front. The colour scheme is amazing. At this point I hadn’t decided what to use for the back bands or even what colour fold over elastic to use as I didn’t have enough to do in all the same colour.

The centre front is cut in two separate pieces and then one side enclosed in the other. Scuba is quite bulky so I decided to join the centre fronts of the fabric and lining separately and then baste together to use as one piece. I also pattern matched the centre front seam.

As with the regular Darcey the centre front piece is enclosed in the side seams. I carefully trimmed the seam allowance ensuring the dark pattern of the scuba did not show through the lining.

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I don’t normally use scuba for the back band as sometimes the pattern can become distorted when stretched but I did this time for the look I wanted to achieve. I made sure I marked the strap positions beyond the seam allowance so they didn’t disappear when the elastic was applied to the bottom band. Then straps are applied to the bottom band before it is folded up so neatly enclosed.

Then I had to make some decisions about what colour elastic to use. I was toying between the blue and coral strapping. I didn’t have quite enough blue but the coral was slightly narrower than the pattern recommended. Luckily I had just had a delivery of multi size findings from Evie la Luve so I could play around with rings and sliders to get the look right. Once decided upon the coral I though the blue fold over elastic looked better than the green.

I made up the straps in one go following the elastic cutting guide. Just three inches spare. As always I use a fabric glue stick to keep in place whilst I sew. I start in the middle and go forward and back and end in the middle. This ensures I can snip the thread close to the fabric and do not have any unsightly ends.

There are no guides for the length of fold over elastic to use. However, if you refer back to the main pattern it does give this for the armhole elastic. I always give myself 1/2” at the start which helps start and then I keep taut but not overly stretched especially around the curves. A steam later and looks great,

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I have got quite fussy with the reverse side of my makes so now I finish off the strap ends with satin stitches before I fold in place over the ring or slider. I used a smaller slider for the centre front due to the width of the strap elastic but I did check the fabric side went through neatly. I kept the rings the same size as they have to take shoulder and front elastic through as well as the main fabric.

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I had already planned to make the Frankie Version 7 when Evie la Luve posted this suggestion on Instagram. Obviously on the same wavelength! I have already written a blog on this so will move on to my obsession with using every last bit of fabric. Just enough to get another Binky front. Then I went in search of lace wide enough to do a full lace back. The closest match was another Evie la Luve purchase. More coral than it looks in the picture.

Not much fabric to work with so I cut the front and gusset in one piece taking out the seam allowance. The back pattern piece fit the low points of the scallops well. As I had used quite a lot of the blue fold over on the other makes I added a bit of contrast with the green which is from another Evie la Luve Kit

So now I have another perfect set of mix and match to go with my previous makes with this fabric.

I really need to move on to my Christmas to do list!

Darcey and Binky Blossom Add On - Can it get any better?

Having decided on a DIY Christmas I thought I would get on and make a start on the cards but then SewMyStyle announced November would be some of my favourite Evie la Luve patterns. So for the challenge I thought I would make one of the few versions that I had not done before. Even better I had a beautiful floral scuba kit to use. As with all Evie la Luve’s products the quality is amazing. How gorgeous is this?

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There is so much going on in the fabric. With so many colours to pick up it is was really difficult to choose what to do first - pink, peach, green, purple even a small amount of blue/mint. I felt quite dizzy with all the variations going around in my head. What I really wanted to do was a Blossom Add On set which is mainly stretch mesh. So I decided on the pink theme as I had some lovely stretch mesh from Costura Secret Shop.

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There are two styles for the Binky Blossom add on. Style 1 I had done so this time I would try Style 2. The Darcey Blossom add on is a front overlay with a longline option. I was going to try the longline version but I struggled to find continuous tape for the fastener in the right colour. The choice was made. Then on to cutting perfect scallops from the scuba.

I thought I would share how I got it to look so perfect. I used this technique on my previous make but did not go into any detail. I will introduce the Cricut Maker - the ultimate cutting machine. Bought on whim last Christmas, I cannot tell you how much it has changed my crafting life and now rivals my sewing machines for my affection. That said on to the technique. The free Cricut software it uses is called Design Space which works with SVG files. My idea was to upload the pattern pieces. You can upload photos and clean them up to create precise designs but this wasn’t producing a clean cut. Then after some research I found a free program called Inkscape which lets you upload a PDF and map it or, as I did, simply trace the shape.

I had to watch a few videos to pick up the basics that I needed to do this but it was well worth the 10 minutes. First I imported the page I needed and then I flipped the image 90 degrees as I found it easier to work this way around and zoomed in so the shape filled the screen.

Then I used the Bezier tool to go from point to point along the pattern. You can see the green line from node to node. Next you edit the path of the nodes to match the curves of the pattern. With the closeness of the lines you really have to zoom in to get this perfect.

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Once you are happy you delete the imported page and you are left with your pattern piece which you then save as an SVG file. For the pattern pieces that are on the fold you don’t join the nodes along the foldline but duplicate the shape, flip and join the open nodes to create one piece.

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The next step is to import the file into Cricut Design Space. For some reason you have to resize the design as they do not load at the correct size. You need to copy the measurements from Inkscape into Design Space. I also physically measured the dimensions on the paper pattern piece to double check. First I cut out in thick card to check the size. I am amazed at just how perfect a fit they are.

Then on to the actual fabric. Pink fabric mat out, rotary cutter in the machine and spandex setting for the cut. I used the card template to fussy cut the pieces so I could up the pink in the fabric. Perfect scallops and such beautiful colours.

Rather than pin or baste I use temporary spray adhesive to keep in place whilst I sew around the scallop edge. I did this really slowly so I could sew perfect curves as I was using dark blue thread and you would see this on the reverse side. I did all my pieces in one go so I didn’t need to keep changing the thread from blue to pink. I could incorporate the gusset into the front piece but I prefer an enclosed gusset. I did pattern match but it’s hard to see as the scuba doesn’t lie very flat.

To finish you return to the regular Binky pattern. I used the overlock stitch on my regular machine for the side seams. Good enough on a small seam.

Onto the Darcey. A little more fussy cutting and remembering to duplicate the side front piece and then mirror.

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The seams are rather bulky so I did grade them. Normally I would leave the seam allowance that is pressed against the main fabric the longest but this would mean you could see the dark fabric through the stretch mesh on the reverse so I did the other way around. With the front done I had to decide what fabric to use for the back pieces. I had noticed that because of the dark colour of this scuba it doesn’t look good when stretched too far. I also thought the stretch mesh would be too light even with two layers so I used a strong powernet for the lining.

I like the way the straps are enclosed in the bottom band. Then as usual I check the fit of the fastener before applying the fold over elastic to the top edge. I used my curved ruler to redraw a smooth line and then cut with sides together for a perfect match. The neckline elastic went in well - you just need to keep the elastic taut when you pivot at the centre front.

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I am just stunned at how pretty this set has turned out. The back is as good as the front. And I have developed a whole new skill set in the process.

Now what colours to pick out next? This just may be my #bpsewember Day 13: Struggle.

Scuba Sensation - Evie la Luve Jamie Bodysuit

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Well there was 20% off PDF patterns at the weekend to celebrate three years of Evie la Luve so I thought I would get the one pattern I didn’t have. It tied in with a few Instagram posts on the Jamie and the gorgeous kit that I’d had my eye for a while. It was going to be a Christmas present but is so sensational I am going to keep it for myself. So here we are!

The kit was for a bra and pantie set but there is enough fabric to make plenty more. I needed some extra strap elastic as well as rings and sliders. The pattern uses a three row fastener but you can adapt the back band for any size. However, I felt I would prefer the extra support of the three row and swapped out the two row one included in the kit. All perfectly matched as everything came from the Evie la Luve shop - all such fabulous quality and gorgeous colours

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The beauty of this pattern is that it is designed so that any bra size will fit any pantie size and can also be made as separates, although I made the same size top and bottom. I didn’t really do any pattern matching except to try and get the light marbling to the middle without wasting too much fabric! The scuba is so super soft but thick to cut through so I really did need to change the blade in my rotary cutter.

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First you make the bra up in the main fabric. There is quite a curve on the front seam so it is really important to mark the notches. I also marked the seam allowance at the edges as given the shape of the pieces I wanted to make sure I had them lined up correctly. Although the instructions are very clear about the size of the seam allowance it does change so read carefully. You trim the seam allowance and press open (as much as you can with scuba).

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You do the same with the lining fabric. You then baste together. I did this by hand and used silk thread as this comes out easily and doesn’t leave any marks. I also stitched together along the seam allowances to keep in place. On to the gusset of the panties with seam enclosed . I finished the side seams with the overlocker. I did have to refer to the manual as the cutting width was too narrow and hence the blade needed moving.

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On to the elastic.

Plush elastic is applied to the bra band and the open sides of the panties. I prefer to leave a tail at either end as I find elastic easier to work with this way and also a neater finish when the elastic is folded over. I just cut off any excess. As I was using a measured amount of elastic I still matched the quarter points so would be symmetrical.

Next the fold over elastic is applied to the leg in the round. I always sew the ends together on a piece of Stitch-N-Tear as this stops the elastic from scrunching up. I start from the middle and then sew up and down and back to the middle so I have no threads hanging off the edge. Then I use a fabric glue pen to keep the seam allowance in place. I always try and place the join out of the way but the neater the better wherever it is.

Before applying the fold over elastic to the top section of the bra you need to check that the band fits into the fastener. I always place both sides together and do any adjustments as one to ensure matching sides. A perfect fit this time so on to the top elastic. All looking pretty with just the last section of strap elastic to do.

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At this point I prepared all the strap elastic. There is quite a lot of preparation!

The rings for the bra top are 5/8” with the rest of the rings and sliders being 1/2”. As always I use a fabric glue pen to keep the straps in place whilst I sew. Once I have trimmed back to the stitching I apply a dab of Fray Check.

Perfectly neat straps all the time!

Then on to stitching the centre seam and time for the walking foot as there is so much bulk with all that elastic in the seam. I finished off with the overlocker. In hindsight I should have done this first as even the overlocker struggled and the seam just didn’t want to press open. So I tacked the seam down around the elastic. I also finished off the back waist with the overlocker as I thought it would look neater than just being trimmed back to the zigzag stitches.

Next you place the the elastic over the waist opening. I marked both the centres and drew a 1/4” line above the seam to place the elastic evenly. For the back waist I marked 1/4” down from the edge. Then the rest of the elastic is sewn in.

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All done.

It wasn’t meant for me (although I did make it in my size) but I just had to try on. To be honest I didn’t think it would look that good on me as I thought the leg would be cut a little high for me and the waist opening might dig into my hip. Well I was wrong! The plush elastic gives it a snug fit without any digging and the slider on the waist elastic allows for a perfect adjustment.

All in time for Day2 of #bpSewvember on Instagram - Luxurious. This is the softest scuba I have come across and it looks just stunning. Makes a girl (a liberal use of the word in my case) feel amazing!

Mystic - Another Orange Lingerie Pattern Release!

No sooner had I finished the Orange Lingerie Lansdowne when the Mystic bra pattern flashed up on Instagram. It is described as a seamless t-shirt bra providing invisible shaping and support underneath even the most fitted garments! Never mind the numerous other projects I have stacked I just had to try. A busy work week so I had to wait until the weekend. So just in time for Strictly I managed another gorgeous set.

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The pattern is based on pre-formed foam bra cups. Luckily, I had a pair in my stash purchased from BWear when I first attempted making bras. I had used two sets for the Pin-Up Girl’s Anita/Amelia Foam Cup Bra Pattern. This offers both a lace and fabric cup option with a lace full band. I had bought the pattern after watching Beverly Johnson’s Craftsy Class Sewing Bras: Foam, Lace & Beyond. Then I had tried a self drafted partial band which I found hard going because of the bulk of the foam on the bottom edge of the cup. So I was intrigued to see how Orange Lingerie tackled the issue.

I knew from previous makes that you need your fabric to be really stretchy so I looked around for some soft jersey scraps and there on the pile was this super organic cotton from Jelly Fabrics I had just used to line my Charlie Jacket. I only had black foam cups but when I stretched the fabric over slightly it looked fine so I went ahead.

I read the instructions and the trick is to to attach a seam allowance to the inside of the cup. I struggled to find something appropriate and I ended up with some tape. Once you have the tape in place you have to place your fabric with the greatest stretch direction in line with the upper edge and then manipulate until you get out all the creases.

This does take some time and patience. You just need to keep moving the pins around until the creases eventually are stretched out, taking care not to distort the foam cup. Once you are happy with this you then mark a line on the upper cup as well as a notch in the middle on both the fabric and cup. You then need to take out your pins and put the right side of the fabric against the cup with the line matching the edge as well as the notches. You sew an 1/8” seam along the edge and then roll the fabric over and then start the placing of the fabric all over again. When all the wrinkles have gone you sew the fabric to the new seam allowance and cut the the underarm fabric back to 3/8”.

I did one cup and decided to try something different with the second for a smoother look. I left attaching the seam allowance until after I finished the upper edge and got the fabric back in place. Then I basted the fabric in place along the side and bottom edge. With the fabric in place I butted fusible tape along the edge of the cup and fused to the fabric only and then trimmed back to the 1/4” seam allowance.

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With the cups done I had to choose what fabric to use for the rest of the bra. I had some matching red jersey as well as some aqua marine stretch mesh from Costura Secret Shop. Then a decision between red findings or a Fit2Sew findings kit in turquoise. Too much choice but I decided on using the same fabric for the bridge and side band with two layers of the mesh for the back band. With this combination the turquoise findings looked best.

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On to the bridge. The pattern does say to stabilise if using your cup fabric. This is really important as I found out in previous makes. The jersey stretches out and causes creases when used with a stable lining. So I used an ultra soft fusible to stabilise. Initially I was going to use black sheer lining to match the foam cup but changed to beige. Attaching the bridge to the cups is quite fiddly to get right but worth the effort.

The elastic is added to the cup at this stage. On the first pass the elastic is attached to the fabric seam allowance only. You then attach stabiliser to the end of the elastic so that it is not stretched out by the strap. The pattern has you hand stitch the elastic in place using a fell stitch. However, I just used a machine zigzag as thought a stronger finish and my hand stitching is not very neat.

After stabilising the side bands I used temporary adhesive spray to attach the beige lining to the back and also to keep the two layers of mesh together. The back band is then attached to the side band. This should be pressed towards the side band but my fabric preferred to sit the other way because of the bulk. So rather than overlock the seam and add extra bulk I topstitched close to the edge and trimmed back to the stitching. I think it is worth saying it would be hard to pattern match the cups. I started with two different flamingos in the middle of each cup and this looks fine. However, with so much moving of the fabric you could struggle to be anymore precise.

After attaching the top and bottom elastic to the bands you make the strap. Before attaching the strap I checked the fit of the fastener. The band was too wide so I pinned the two sides together and reshaped to fit. This ensures the bands are exactly the same.

The bands are then attached to the cups. There is an awful lot of bulk where the two elastics meet on the underarm but thankfully not an issue for the sewing machine. Just the chaneling to do before attaching the strap. Before sealing off the ends I made sure that the wires fit through . All done and on to making a matching set.

The Orange Lingerie Montgomery brief is a perfect match as it has an innovative design that eliminates elastic from the bottom for a smooth profile under clothing. I have made this pattern a number of times as it is a really comfortable fit. Although a pattern for a lace front there is a great guide on Norma’s website for a simple adaption so you can use fabric.

You just need to add the seam allowance for the waist elastic and because you are not using the edge of the lace you can draw a light curve for the waist. To make sure it was symmetrical I folded the pattern piece over and used on the fold rather than cut on one layer. To use as much of my fabric as I could I also added the gusset to the panel, rather than use the mesh. So you need to eliminate the seam allowance . This would mean I wouldn’t be able to enclose the front seam but not a big issue for me. I overlocked the front edge and basted in place.

The findings kit was just for a bra so there was not enough 3/8” elastic for both the legs and waist. The kit does contain a neck edge elastic which is rather decorative so I used this for the waist instead. I always put my waist elastic join on the side but the match on this was so good you can’t see it! The guide does say not to stretch the elastic over the front panel as it is meant for a rigid lace. However, this jersey is very stretchy so I calculated my usual deduction and distributed the elastic evenly. Worked perfectly.

Another fabulous make. It is a time consuming process but worth the effort. It did help that I had used a similar method before and knew what size cup, wire and back band works for me and all made from my stash.

No Stopping Me Now - Orange Lingerie Lansdowne and Blossom4Binky

A rather selfish weekend of sewing but I have so many beautiful kits stacked up I just had to use one of them. So as we head into Autumn I thought I would use the strikingly colourful kit from CosturaSecretShop. Then I had to decide what to make with it. Orange Lingerie has just released the new Lansdowne bra pattern so that decision was made. Then Evie la Luve posted a fabulous Blossom set on Instagram and having bought the add on pattern as soon as it came out it was time to give it a try. Feeling quite smug for a number of reasons.

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I have made all the other Orange Lingerie patterns using the same size but as the Lansdowne is a partial band bra I thought I would make my usual paper cup and check. I really like the fact that the PDF pattern has a set of pieces for each size and that the seam allowances are marked. I just cut off the seam allowances and tape together along the cup seam. Looked fine.

The positioning of the lace is made easy as the seam allowances are marked and you can see exactly where the lace will join the bridge and where the strap ring will be attached. I lined with a nude bra tulle from my stash and used clear elastic to stabilise which I attached using a three step zigzag.

Then I had some decisions to make. The kit came with white sheer lining, nude picot elastic, blue strap elastic, black powernet and a black fastener. I hadn’t really picked up on the coral from the pictures I had seen of makes from the kit. I really love the contrast of the coral and the blue and remembered ordering some notions from Madalynne. Wow! So I swapped the elastics.

The outer cup requires stable fabric but as the scuba has some stretch in one direction I lined with the white sheer lining to stablise. This also meant I could enclose the cup seam for a neater finish. I decided against using the fabric for the band as thought this would be too much and used some navy powernet from my stash rather than the black from the kit. Rather than overlock the band to the side band, which creates bulk, I just did two rows of straight top stitching to keep in place. This is fine with scuba which doesn’t fray.

On to the band elastic and the usual dilemma when using different colour elastic and fabric. What colour thread to use? So I did the first pass in beige/nude which blends into the coral really well. However, the colour wasn’t good enough for the contrast on the navy powernet. So had the blue on top and kept the beige in the bobbin, sewing the second pass with the fabric right side up. Also, for a better colour match I used navy duoplex for the lining of the bridge. As with my previous partial band I attached the bands and bridge in one go, sewing from one side of the cup to to the other, to leave a guide for attaching the channeling. Looking pretty.

Applied the channeling as with the previous make. The photo shows how I mark the channeling once the first pass has been done. Once the second pass has been done I applied some iron on seam tape to the end of the elastic to provide stability for the ring attachment. Easier and less bulk than sew on.

I still couldn’t make my mind up about the strap elastic as the coral was a little narrow but looked so much better. I chose the coral and then switched to rose gold findings. Before applying the strap elastic I checked the fit of the fastener. As I had used slightly narrower elastic I had to shave some off the band to fit. As always I reshape the bands pinned together so exactly the same.

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Bra finished and on to the Blossom4Binky. The big issue I had was how I was going to cut out the scuba neatly. Then I had a brain wave. I would see if my Cricut Maker could cut the fabric. No setting for scuba but thought I would try the spandex setting. I made a little design with half circles and watched carefully as the rotary blade cut a perfect circle. So next it was how to get the design into Circut Design Space. I played around taking pictures of the pattern piece, uploading and trying to clean up. Unfortunately this was not good enough as this didn’t give clean edges. So I spent a very worthwhile Saturday morning googling and came up with a free package called Inkscape. I opened the PDF in the program and basically traced using the Bezier pen. You make straight lines from point to point and then shape the curves. Amazing, within a short while I had an SVG file for the Cricut. When I opened in Cricut I had to resize as some SVGs do not import the correct size. Easily done and a perfect cut!

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For the main front I used a stretch mesh I bought in the same order from CosturaSecretShop. I used temporary spray adhesive to keep in place whilst I sewed very carefully around the scalloped edge. It was really hard to see the edge in places but I went really slow. I then enclosed the front seam between the gusset and gusset lining. I even pattern matched the gusset so well you can’t see the join in the picture.

I used the lace for the back. The Binky has two options - full back and half back. The lace wasn’t quite wide enough for the full back. So to make life easier I just used a scrap of fabric behind the lace and used a small zigzag stitch along the scalloped edge. Then I trimmed the fabric back to the stitching. Just the elastic to apply. I didn’t have enough coral for both waist and leg so used the coral on the waist and the blue on the leg.

I know the Binky fits well but this Blossom version is gorgeous. It just looks fantastic with the Lansdowne. The fit and shape of this bra is all I expected from Orange Lingerie. With all the new skills where do I go next!

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Lace Perfection - Courtesy of Evie la Luve and Braugust2018

Been so busy with holiday and then work that I have not had chance to make anything with the beautiful kit I won for the #Braugust2018 Evie la Luve Mix and Match day. Having recently made the Darcey and Binky with this lace I wanted to try something different. So off I went and I think the result is amazing!

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The lace is so pretty and feminine so I wanted to find a pattern that could do it justice. Having made the Darcey bralette I looked around for a bra pattern. Evie la Luve had posted a few pictures on Instagram of some bra ideas she had been playing around with but said the pattern wouldn’t be out for a while. So I turned to my pattern stash. The Madalynne X Simplicity 8436 would be perfect.

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So I cut out my normal size and thought I would get a bit clever and try to make some foam pads as in the Madalynne X Simplicity 8624. I traced off the pattern and then used the foam pieces of the 8624 to get the shape. The dart was slightly longer on the 8436 so I made the curve at the point of the dart. Then I realised two things. One this was going to be too small and, second, the lace is so open it needed to be lined for support.

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I went up a cup size and cut out the pieces again. This time with lining. Choosing the lining was difficult. I really needed to use a strong powernet for support but the colours I had would just spoil the pretty look I was going for so went with the perfect colour, although a little lightweight. The idea is to spray baste the lace and lining in one go and then cut out. When using the scalloped edge of lace it is not always possible to work with the fabric in its greatest direction of stretch but with the lining you need to think which way you want to place this. I was using a powernet which has a definite direction of stretch so I used two separate pieces of lining in different directions for the cups and band. The centre front I lined with sheer lining for stability. As it looked so pretty as this point I decided not to use the foam inserts.

For this pattern I couldn’t find any tutorials or sew along on Madalynne’s website so went along with the printed pattern instructions. In a rush to get finished I only skim read. The darts and neckline elastic are first. Both the lace and fabric are hard to mark so used my pink chaco liner. I have three of these - white, yellow and pink. The yellow and pink can stain so I use with care on the wrong side. I like to trace the line of the dart to make sure they are perfectly matched.

Then I applied clear elastic to the scalloped edge of the cup. I prefer clear elastic with such a sheer lace. Even with a prefect colour match you could still see this through the lace. The instructions use a normal zigzag but I prefer to use a three step zigzag the width of the elastic as this seems to eliminate any tunnelling.

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Then you attach the cups to centre front followed by the bands. I pin everything in place and then sew from one end of the cup to the other. This then leaves a line of sewing between the band and front (marked by the arrows) that you can use as a guide when applying the channeling. I applied the channeling slightly different to the pattern. I don’t pre-cut to the length of the cup but I apply directly along the line of stitching keeping taut as I do and leaving a tab at either end. I don’t start stitching for about 1/2” from the underarm seam. I use my Stitch in the Ditch foot to stitch as close to possible to the seam line. Then I fold up over the cup stitch the other side the same distance from the edge. The pattern has you start the channeling 3/8” (which is the the width of the elastic) away from the underarm

The next step is to apply the plush elastic to the upper edge. At this point I check the fit of the fastener. If too wide I can shape the band. If too narrow I can position the elastic further off the edge. Then I realised the pattern didn’t include any band elastic. Always read the instructions in full before starting! As my lace and powernet were so lightweight I would definitely need some extra support. This should have been applied to the band before it was attached to the cup. Rather than undo everything I applied 1/2”plush elastic along the edge with the picot edge upwards. When I got as far a I could, I stopped and cut round the cup. With my zipper foot on I sewed down this curved section. Then I applied fray check to the edge. Looked fine and so on to the top elastic.

As with other Simplicity patterns all the seam allowances are 1/4”. You need to to extend the elastic 1/8” over the edge. With the previous make I marked the 1/4” but this time I just went with my eye. Again I didn’t cut the elastic. I keep taut as I am applying, stretching more over the armpit area to give a snug fit. Now I fix the channeling at the underarm. I fold over the elastic and mark where this sits on the channeling. I then cut the channeling to sit between the the first pass and the bottom of the elastic. I then do the second pass with a three step zigzag enclosing the channeling.

With the fastener on, the straps made and attached to the front I try on and check the length and placement. I took about 3” off the strap as otherwise it would need tightening all the way back down to the band. The pattern comes with an underwear pattern but I wanted an all lace look so went to my favourite Evie la Luve Bella pattern. This is a great pattern if your lace isn’t that deep. Just enough lace left to match sides. Whipped these up in no time. Such an impressive make in such a short time.

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The prize not only included the kit but also the Lingerie Project Book and any two PDF patterns. As I already have most of the patterns I went for the Chloe thong and the Xo bra. The Xo is not a lace bra so I put that aside for another day and went on to make the thong.

I made some minor modifications to the pattern to make best use of the lace. I wanted to make the front piece and gusset all in one. This would mean I couldn’t enclose the lining at the front but it was the look I was after. So I printed another gusset and cut in half. I marked the 1/4” seam allowance on the front edge and I placed the gusset edge along the line, eliminating the seam allowance.

The placement of the lace was determined by its width. This lace has a mirrored pattern so I could fold in half. I placed the bottom edge of the pattern piece at the low point of the scallop on the bottom edge and cut up around the leg until it came off the lace at the top edge. I then used spray adhesive to hold in place whilst I used a small zigzag to attach along the scallop. Then finished in the normal way. Another triumph.

I always like to finish with a picture of the reverse side. So amazingly pretty for an afternoons work.

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Madalynne X Simplicity 8711 - Another Stunner

A wet weekend so I finally got chance to make the Madalynne X Simplicity 8711. I just had to have this pattern as soon as it came out which meant shipping from the US. There are some fabulous kits on the website but I had previously bought all the beautiful fabrics during a free shipping weekend so had plenty to choose from.

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The description is of an underwire bralette with an interior frame, called a floating bridge, that holds a continuous monowire for support. Floating bridge, monowire!

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So the big decision was what size monowire to buy. There is so much help on the website (including a guide you can download) I found easier to digest than the printed pattern. The guidance was to buy the size up and down from your calculations. Having made other Madalynne patterns I went with my usual size and the size up. And, just as suggested, I needed the larger size.

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Wire sorted I then had to decide which of three gorgeous fabrics to use. I have both the pink and blue metallic from the website but in the end I had to use the lace as I only had the right size fastener in the black. Too many choices for the lining! All the various shades of nude/peach worked but I decided on the peach powernet which being a light powernet has quite a silky soft feeling. For better support I used a matching sheer lining for the floating bridge.

Each band size has its own pattern pieces. So I photocopied my size and then cut out the cup size from these pieces. Alas, this was to be my downfall as I photocopied two band sizes as I wasn’t quite sure which one to use. After making my decision I failed to tidy up and some pattern pieces fell on the floor. Next day I didn’t check I had all the right sizes. Luckily it was just the floating bridge I cut in the wrong size so not too much wasted. I also failed to read the instructions and cut lace for the floating bridge not even thinking through the construction. Again not a lot of waste.

I followed the instructions on the sew along and the only variation was that I enclosed the front between the band fabric and lining. The instructions have you cover the seam with plush channeling. The lace has quite open spaces so it was hard to baste the band fabric and lining. It would have probably been better to use temporary spray adhesive. The fabric was also hard to mark. The seam allowances are all 1/4” so when you attach 3/8” plush elastic to the neck and underarm you have to hover the elastic 1/8”off the edge. So that I had this perfect I marked the 1/4” seam. Next time I will adjust the pattern piece for this. I also enlongated my mark for the straps on the back as once you fold the elastic over you loose the mark.

Then my usual dilemma of what colour thread to use when the elastic is a contrast to the fabric. I did the first pass in black thread. So although not the right way to do it I did the second pass with the fabric on top with the beige thread on top with black bobbin thread. You can just make out the top thread on the reverse. After seeing a recent Madalynne post on Instagram I applied the band elastic using my coverstitch machine. This looks pretty from the front and covers the overlap on the reverse. Just the straps and fastener to do. For once the fastener was a perfect fit and no adjustment to the back band necessary.

Bralette done and then on to the underwear. The pattern includes a really cute 3 ruffle low rise but I didn’t think the lace suited this. I hadn’t seen anyone else make matching underwear with this fabric. So I summoned all my creative powers and came out of my comfort zone to do something completely different. Probably should not have experimented with the lovely lace but the result was amazing.

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I thought I would try and match the bralette with elastic on the right side creating its own ruffle. The lace doesn’t have a scalloped edge so I was going to attempt to use a rolled hem on the overlocker. As the pieces were too big to photocopy I traced off my size on dot and cross paper. I would normally spray baste the lace and lining before cutting as one piece but rather than waste too much fabric I cut out individually and then used the temporary spray adhesive.

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Then had to make another decision. What colour fabric to use for the gusset. I didn’t have the right beige/peach so used black. It doesn’t photograph well but looks better on. I attached front and back, enclosing the back of the gusset and sewed the side seams so I could check the fit. The pattern uses 1/4” seam allowance so thought would need to cut at least this off all round. After trying on I decided to leave the seam allowance on the waist and took off 1/4 off most of the leg using my curved ruler to both mark and then redraw a smooth line. I marked on one side and then pinned together to cut in one go so both sides matched. Then I still needed to take a further 1/4” from just before and just after the gusset. Once happy with the shape I could move on and finish.

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So to the rolled hem. Finished a couple of rolled hems recently so wasn’t too fazed by changing the settings on the overlocker. I did a test and decided to try woolly nylon in the loopers for better coverage. This gave a much better result. This did stretch the edge slightly but after a quick steam looked fine. I did sew in the round which makes finishing off awkward but I think this looks better than finishing by joining one of the side seams.

I was amazed to find some narrow black elastic in my stash. It had a shiny side like strap elastic but not very strong which I though would be perfect for underwear as well as match the band on the bralette. I used the elastic guide that came with the pattern. I measured the waist and leg openings and deducted 20% of this for a snug fit and checked against the elastic guide. This was pretty spot on so was happy to use the guide.

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I overlapped the elastic by 1/4” and secured using a straight stitch. I then marked 1/4” along both waist and leg opening as a guide for attaching the elastic. I matched at the quarter points. Then I got a feel for how much I need to stretch the elastic before apply with a narrow 3 step zigzag. A quick steam and looking amazing.


I am just thrilled with this set. What amazing support even with the lightweight powernet and looks absolutely gorgeous with my version of the underwear. Thanks to the great designers out there we can all make beautiful, comfortable, perfect fitting lingerie. On a mission to spread the word!

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Evie la Luve Summer Bikini - another stunner

Spurred on by the great success with Evie la Luve's Mimi Bikini I was eager to try the newly released Summer Bikini.  Having seen so many lovely designs by Shopcabin in Spoonflower sports lycra I thought perfect time to test.  I wanted a bright print but not too much white that might discolour.  How perfect is this Love Summer Florals & Tropical Leaves in Aqua.  

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I had bought enough fabric for both but with time running out I went with style 2 for the top and style 3 for the bottoms.  I had also stocked up on the elastic when I bought the pattern as this is the only website I could find all three widths needed.  The quality of the elastic makes all the difference.

I started with the bottoms.  I cut out the pattern in my regular size and compared to a good fitting RTW pair of a similar shape that are sadly no longer wearable because of the inadequate elastic.  I didn't follow all the instructions but instead made up the fabric and lining separately so there would be no seams.  Then I basted together using a ball  point needle and silk thread.  

Due to the construction method I now had to attach the elastic in the round for both legs and waist.  Whilst I do this quite a lot using a zigzag stitch I hadn't done this whilst attaching elastic with an overlocker!  I do like the coverage the overlocker gives to the inside edge so thought I would give it a go.  There is no elastic guide for the legs you just apply with a small amount of tension.  I've got a feeling for this now.  Starting at the side seam (as this would be covered by the bow) , the trick was to stop close to where I had started and cut the elastic just so it butts against the other end and overlock over the joint.  I was very impressed with my first attempt - where the red arrow is pointing.  The elastic is then just folded over and I used a zigzag to hold in place.  I do have a coverstitch machine but thought was a bit much for the bottoms.  

The little ties were a bit more problematic due to the fabric.  You stitch around leaving a gap to turn and then stitch the opening shut.  The fabric didn't like this so after the first I slipped stitched the second in place.  The fabric didn't press well.  However still looked fine.  You have the option to stitch in place over the side seam but l left loose.  Although when taking the picture they did move around so I may eventually fix in place. 

Moving on to the top.  I cut the pattern pieces in my regular size and taking off the seam allowance I made a paper cup just to check the coverage.  No problem with that.    

I went with the instructions on this except I didn't press the curved seam other than a little steam over the tailors ham.  With the seams all enclosed the front edge elastic is applied using a technique I hadn't used before except for straps.  You sew a fabric strip to the centre front edge of the fabric. You then apply elastic to the edge within the seam allowance  and then wrap the strip over the front and sew along the band you have created.  Then you trim the fabric back to your stitching.  As this is a band I thought the coverstitch would look better than a zigzag.  Although it was hard to trim the fabric neatly close enough to the stitching even with my small applique scissors.  

The next step is to overlap the centre fronts.  The pattern advised to try on at this point and adjust the overlap if necessary.  So I pinned on the fastener and it looked fine.  I also got to test out the various fastener colours.  I had ordered two of all the colours of the fabric from Sewing Chest but thought the pink worked best.

You do the same for the bottom edge.  I thought this might be a little bulky at the centre but it went through fine.  The straps are made by the fabric strips extending past the top edge and there are cutting guides for this.  I pinned the strips in place along the ditch as the fabric was a bit slippy going through the coverstitch.  I then tried on again to check the turn back for the fastener.  A little loose so I took in a further 1/2" each side.  The bow detail just finishes the set off perfectly.

Verdict - another great make.  Getting quite good at this sewing lark.  The patterns does say advanced and probably not for someone who has not used stretch fabrics or elastic before but the instructions and photos are so clear.  I have had some very expensive RTW brands that looked so pretty but I just couldn't swim in them.  It's all about the elastic and and the fact you have made them to fit.

As with all Evie la Luve's patterns they fit like they look in the illustrations.  This doesn't have as much coverage as the Mimi but different looks for different days and maybe at the start of the holiday if you eat as much as I do. 

Swimwear and lingerie sorted just a few Ogden Camis to make over the weekend!

Summer Lingerie Part 4 - Evie la Luve Darcey and Binky again!

Not sure what I would get out of the scraps I first cut the pieces for the Binky and decided how to finish once I worked out what bra I could make.  So it ended up being the Darcey Style 3 and Binky Style 5.

Has I had fussy cut the last two sets I had quite a lot of small pieces left so it was hard to find enough to make a bra after using the last two big pieces for the Binky.  The purple contrast had worked so well with the Romy that I thought I would try the mesh Darcey version, reducing the amount of fabric needed.  This used up most of the purple fold over and I had already used up my supply of navy.  So I used the ice blue for the waist and decided to try the narrow lace for the leg of the Binky.

First up was the Darcey.  The curve of the mesh looks daunting but as with every Evie la Luve pattern the pieces went together really well.  What I would say is make sure you mark ( I never snip)  the notches accurately and make sure they match as this ensures the proper placement of the curved pieces.  As the mesh is dark I did grade the seam allowance to ensure it was tucked between the lighter layers. Then I pressed over a tailor's ham.

The bra is then finished as Style 1.  The centre front piece is enclosed by the side fronts fabric and lining.  Again grading the seam allowance and pressing using the tailor's ham.  The side front is then enclosed by the back band fabric and lining.  

The next step is the first pass of the band elastic.  The back straps are then attached to the inside of the bra on the band elastic.  So when the band elastic is folded back for the second pass the straps are neatly enclosed.  This is such a neat method. Then the fold over elastic is applied to the neckline.  As always, before applying to the top edge of the bra, you check the back band fits into the fastener.  I shaved a small amount of, with both sides together, so they match.  Guidelines are given for the length of elastic and this works pretty well for me.  The point I would make here is to make sure you mark the centre of the elastic for the V of the neckline so evenly matched on both sides.

The inside of this bra is as good as the outside.

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Then on to the Binky.  I thought I would finish the leg with some narrow lace.  I have done once before on a Frankie and it turned out pretty good.  I had forgotten what I a time consuming method this is.  You pin the lace along the edge of the lace on one side and then mirror on the other side.  I did not baste but went straight to sewing as the lace was not moving around on the fabric.  

Then I used a small zigzag all around the inner edge of the lace which is a lot of lifting of the presser foot for an even curve!   The next step is to trim the fabric close to the stitching.  This is where applique (duckbill) scissors come into their own,  I have two different sizes.  I did most with the larger pair and then went to the smaller pair for any tight turns.  

I did use white bobbin thread so you can hardly see the stitching.  Then a perfect match on the side seams.  I certainly got value for money with a yard of fabric!

Summer Lingerie Part 3 - Evie la Luve Old Favourites - Rosie and Esme

So for the third make I wanted to use the lace I had in my stash to a make a pretty feminine set.  The Esme is a very flattering fit and started my obsession with Evie la Luve patterns.  It came in a deal with the Bella and is the first lingerie pattern I bought after taking the Beverly Johnson Craftsy classes.  I am capable of drafting my own patterns but I do enjoy testing what is out there.  I wanted to team up with a softer lace bralette so I went back to the Rosie which I have only made for my sister and thought would try for myself.

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My first task is to mark the seam line for any lace pattern pieces so I can make sure it sits at the low point of lace (lopol) where it needs to match.  This pattern has a centre front seam so it is important to be in the right place here.  The top edge is less important but actually worked quite well here as well.

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Although not called for in the pattern I lined the lace as well.  I deliberated between nude and white but then thought about the lilac powernet (fabric piece from Sewing Chest).  It looks really pretty underneath but the picture doesn't really pick this up.  As usual I used a temporary adhesive spray to hold in place and then used some very narrow soft elastic to cover the edge, all giving extra support.

 

I fussy cut the side fronts and back to try to find sections with as much as the ice blue as I could as not as dominant as the navy or purple.

The pattern has you attach the band to the side front for both fabric and lining and then enclose the the centre front piece.  I thought twice about doing this as I would normal enclose the cup in the band fabric and lining but went along with the pattern.  This makes for a flatter side seam rather than having the bulk on one side. 

Not only did I trim the seam allowance to 1/4" I also further trimmed the centre front piece as this seam was so bulky with all the lining.  I pressed but didn't topstitch with a three step zigzag as in the pattern as I find that this can sometimes distort the fabric.  However, sometimes you do need to do this if the layers don't lie flat enough.  I hand basted the fabric to lining all around.  Not only do the stitches come out easier it stops over stretching the fabric as machine basting can do.

Then on to the centre front.  It is so important that the lace matches perfectly. Starting off with Stitch N Tear really helps keep in place.  So what to do with the open seam.  The patterns says to overlock and press to one side.  I have a major issue with this on lace as it often looks wrong from the right side when you can see the seam and doesn't always stay flat.  My solution is to trim the seam down to 1/4" very neatly (rotary cutter and ruler) and then I used a small zig zag to catch the seam.  You can't see this from the right side of the lace as the thread match is so good.

What colour elastic to use?  Didn't want to use white or blue again so went with the grey (from a Fit2Sew findings kit).  With just the picot edge showing this did pick up on the grey in the fabric.  However, too dark to use for the straps.  I did have some matt mint/ice blue strap elastic but didn't look right so went with white for the straps.  The straps are made a little different using four rings and into two sections.  Luckily I noticed that the pattern requires bigger rings on the front than the back.  I assumed this was because there is too much bulk for the smaller rings used for the strap itself.  Luckily I has some bigger white rings.  I checked the fastener fit before I attached the elastic to  the back band.  For once no trimming necessary.

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Then disaster.  I didn't seem to have enough strap width fabric to go over the ring at the front.  Just too much bulk.  So I found white strap elastic the width of the ring.  I cut two small strips and folded in half over the ring.  I neatened the edge with a satin stitch, cut back to the stitching and then used fabric glue to attached to the fabric so that the top of the fabric sat just over the ring.  Left to dry and did a row of stitching through all the bulk as well!  Looks rather neat.

Moving on to the Esme which I have made a number of times in different fabrics.  After frequent washes I noticed that leg openings become a little loose with time as there is no elastic applied just hemmed.

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So this time I have used elastic for more prolonged wear.    Then, rather than just overlocking the leg opening, I attached 1/4" soft elastic as I did this.  Then you have an exact 1/4" to turn over for the hem without needing to pin.  After first neatening the front edge with the overlocker I basted the gusset piece in place so you catch this when the hem is folded over.  This creates less bulk than if included in the fold over for the hem.

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I cut the lace for the back lace pieces so that the low point of the lace was on the gusset seam allowance.  Then I joined the lace pieces using a stretch stitch and neatened the edge with the machine double overcast stitch.  After attaching the front to the back with the overlocker I did some securing sttches at each edge.

Then, the beauty of this pattern is that you can adjust the amount of overlap of lace over the fabric for the perfect fit.  There is a guide point and for me this is just right.  Just so pretty front and back.  

As expected the Esme fit perfect.  The Rosie looks fabulous and is going to be great for those long summer nights!  Enough fabric for more?

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Summer Lingerie Part 2 - Ohhh Lulu Grace and Romy Purple Perfection

Next up is the purple contrast. I think I have spent more time thinking about what to make than sewing but the deliberation was worth it.  Another stunning set.

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For this set I wanted to make use of the purple powernet from Sewing Chest. I scoured my lingerie pattern folders as I still have some not yet tried. But in the end went with the Ohhh Lulu Grace Hipster and the Romy soft bra. Previous makes that had fit well.

The Grace is good for scraps of fabric and you can use woven fabrics on the bias for the centre front and back pieces.  Although I have used non stretch lace cut on the grainline when I didn’t have enough left from making a bra.  Fit a bit snug but still worked.  

This pattern is for regular elastic so the first job was to print out the pattern again and take off the elastic allowances off the waist and leg openings as I wanted to use fold over elastic.  The pattern has 1/2” seam allowances so I trimmed down to 1/4” making sure I marked this version of the pattern in red for when I use again.  This is where my plethora of rulers come in handy.  And, where no line I can use on my curved rulers I have the little seam allowance guide and I just join up the marks.  I bought the rulers after taking a lingerie pattern drafting class with Lorna Knight.  They have proved really useful both in drafting my own patterns and making adjustments to others.  

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This time I fussy cut the pieces a little to make sure I got some of the dark purple in each of the pattern pieces  Took a bit longer to cut out but worth doing.  I used a frixon pen to draw around one side and then flipped the piece over and drew around that so I could see the pattern piece in full.  If wrong just steam the mark and start again!

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The first step is to finish the front edge of the gusset lining as it is not enclosed in a seam.  I did this with what is called a double overcasting stitch on my sewing machine.  Not as good a coverage but I have taken to doing this on small sections when I am too lazy to get out the overlocker and/or not wanting to thread bobbins if I want the thread to match the fabric. Then on to the side seams.  I didn’t want the fabric to be seen through the powernet so I used my cover stitch with woolly nylon in the looper to keep the seam to the centre. Then I just trimmed the seam as close as I could to the stitching.

Just the fold over elastic to apply  I have found Evie La Luve’s guidelines to be a good fit.  I measured around the leg and waist and took off 1 1/4” for the leg and 1 1/2” for the waist.  My way of joining is to use a straight stitch over Stitch N Tear starting and finishing in the middle so I have no threads to cut off at the ends.  I then use a fabric water soluble glue pen to keep the seam allowance in place whilst I attach.  To finish I steam the elastic - it makes all the difference.  A great tip from Norma (Orange Lingerie).

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Moving on to the Romy.  The earlier version I made did ride up a little because the band elastic was not strong enough for purpose so I was going to use some wider and stronger elastic.  I meant to allow for this but I got carried away with fussing cutting the cups that I forgot to do.  However, the band elastic I used this time was much better quality.  BWear, one of the suppliers I use, does indicate the % stretch which is useful to know.  Looking lovely already!

The previous version I made was a lace neckline edge so this was a slightly different make.  You enclose the front upper cup edge between the front lower cup fabric and lining.  Although I matched the notches I was a bit concerned whether I had them in the right place but looked find when turned the right way.  The option is to understitch the seam allowance to the lining but I just trimmed the seam allowance down to 1/4".   

Then you enclose this front cup between the side cup fabric and lining.  Again I trimmed the seam allowance as very bulky with all the layers. 

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The bands are then enclosed using the burrito method. You pin the band to the right side of the fabric then bring the lining over like a sandwich.  Then you turn to right side so all enclosed.

The cups are then joined at the centre seam.  The instructions recommend basting by hand first as you have to sew from the very bulky fabric to the relatively thin mesh.  This can cause movement and the look depends on these points matching.

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You can either press this seam open or overlock and press to one side.  Pressing to one side, for me, is not aesthetically pleasing when using mesh but I didn't want to leave without finishing so I stitched a short line either side trimming back to the stitching line.  Not yet done in the picture but I then changed thread and did the same in white for the fabric keeping the seam flat and neat.

 

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There are no guides for the length of  fold over elastic just a gentle pull.  I am now getting a feel for what this means and the v of the neckline went well.  I am a little more enthusiastic along the underarm as fold over elastic is not as supportive as normal plush back elastic.

Then I had to make  decision at to what colour strap, band elastic and fastener use as I couldn't source the right colour purple.  A very difficult colour to gauge on a computer screen.  I went with white and it was the right choice.  Give myself a little pat on the back!

 

Part 4 – Evie la Luve Darcey and Binky

Part 3 - Evie la Luve Rosie and Esme

Part 1 - Cloth Habit Watson and Evie la Luve Binky