It's here - The Emerald Erin Black Beauty

IMG_2054.jpg

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.

IMG_2351+%28002%29.jpg

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.

1_b4713410-a882-41b4-8c9c-fac6110ea17f_1024x1024%402x.jpg

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.

IMG_2051.jpg

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.

Straps, Lace and Foam - Part One

1543844195776.JPEG

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.

IMG_1694.jpg
IMG_1695.jpg

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.

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.

IMG_1537.jpg
IMG_1540.jpg

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!

continuous-monowire-madalynne-intimates.jpg

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.

IMG_1523.jpg

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.

IMG_1531.jpg

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.

IMG_1532.jpg

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.

IMG_1533.jpg

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.

1537201690760.JPEG

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!

1537253093220.JPEG


More Madalynne - Barrett and Noelle

Making my way through the free patterns from Madalynne.  There are some beautiful kits on her website but thought I would try out using my own stash.

1521901844729 (002).jpeg

First up is the Barrett which I have paired up with the undie from the Madalynne Simplicity X 8624 pattern.  I did buy all the other patterns in a bundle at the same time!

IMG_0663 (002).jpg

The heart mesh is a recent purchase from Emerald Erin.  For me I needed a bit of support so tried out a number of fabrics for the lining but went with a strong powernet in red.  

For a free pattern the instructions are pretty good with great pictures.  The only part I struggled with was placing of the elastic at the cross over.  I couldn't get mine to look like the picture but this maybe due to the size I was doing.

IMG_1237.jpg

I did make sure that the heart matched at the centre front.  All cup and side seams are enclosed for a comfortable fit.  I was amazed at the fit and support for a bralette.  Can't wait to do in the glitter mesh kit.  

 

 

As I also lined the undie I could enclose both gusset seams.  I didn't have a scallop edge on the mesh so I added 3/8" to the pattern to allow for the turn back of the elastic on the leg opening.  Worked pretty well but when I make again I think I will go down a size.

So pleased with the result.  Another stunning set.

1522943680017 (002).jpeg

Next up is the Noelle bralette. Unlike the newer Barrett pattern this has just written instructions.  Not an issue as a project for all levels.  Had this lace around for a while and definitely needed lining.  Again I went for strong powernet.

I used a temporary spray to keep the lace in place and did the darts through both layers as I didn't want them to show through the lace.  Enclosed the side seam between the lace and lining of the back and did the same for the band.  I am now getting a feel for how much to pull the elastic, if at all.  I do like to pull along the underarm as this gives a much better fit.  

The seam between the body and band is hidden by elastic which also keeps it in place.  Elastic is also attached to the bottom of the band which stops it from riding up.  I didn't have a large enough black ring for the back so I just used a black sharpie on a white one!

Another impressive make!  Looks gorgeous and again supportive because of the strong powernet.  I will definitely be making more of these.

Madalynne Simplicity X 8624 and Orange Lingerie Kingston Thong

As there is a beautifully photographed 3 day sew along on the blog this is a short post on the Madalynne X Simplicity 8624 pattern and the white and yellow bra kit. As an an alternative to making the Orange Lingerie Montgomery brief, as I always do when I have a small amount of lace, I tried the Kingston thong.

1520177816558 (3).JPEG

The first point to make is that the kit is made in a slightly different way to the pattern so do check carefully especially for the fit of the hook and eye fastener.  

When using lace I like to mark the seam allowance on the pattern so I can see the point at which the lace will meet.  I cut out one side and then flip over to find the perfect pattern match.  I then place the pattern piece over rather than just cut around the pattern.  For the back band I have used a spray adhesive to hold the lace to the powernet and then cut out in one.

The foam cups are butted together and sewn using a zigzag.  Personally I use a stitch length of 4 and stitch width of 1.5 as taught by Beverly Johnson on her Craftsy Class.  Then I overlock the upper edge of the cup.  At this point I would just like to mention the thread I use for lingerie which is Gutermann Mara 120 industry quality polyester.  Another tip from Beverly.  Is is really fine and blends into the fabric.

The elastic is added to the back band and then attached to the cup.  The elastic is placed behind the lace which is different to the pattern where it sits on top.   This where you need to check the fit of the hook and eye.  Then the elastic is added to join the two cups.  It is really important to get this in the right place.  Depending on the size you are making you may want to use ribbon instead of elastic.  I used a white iron on stabiliser the width of the elastic.  Just the very pretty straps to do.  After making up I attached at the front, put on the hook and eye fastener and tried on so I could check the position of the straps at the back.  I had to move over to the middle slightly for them to sit correctly.

What to make with the leftovers?  With such a small amount of lace I went for the Kingston thong which like the Montgomery brief as a front lace panel.  I had plenty of stretch mesh over to line.  I spray baste together and cut as one on paper which I find helps give a clean cut with lace.  There was enough yellow elastic for the waist and I added white elastic for the legs, a cream lightweight powernet for the back and gusset as well as narrow elastic to match the mesh for the top of the lace panel.

As with the Montgomery the back seam is enclosed.  This is done by folding one side along the fold line wrong sides together. Then fold the other side around this piece with right sides together and stitch the back seam through all layers.  You then bring to the right side by bringing the top back piece over the seam.  Very pretty as I do like to tell myself!