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.

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!