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.

Even More Evie la Luve - The Mimi Bikini Practice

A little rushed last year I thought year I would give myself time to make the perfect swimwear.  I had a big success with the Jalie 3350 but ran out of time for a bikini. On a run with Evie la Luve patterns and a 20% off offer I decided to give the Mimi Bikini a go. The description on the website is "The Mimi Bikini is a gorgeous cut combining a simple silhouette with a twist. You can be sure this bikini will stay in place with the two straps at the back and good coverage at the front!"

IMG_1374.jpg
il_570xN.1261063972_jjag.jpg

Showing off my updated model.  A tin of white spray paint later and most of the shine gone!  Really need to get myself a proper lingerie form.

I knew I had loads of practice fabric left from my buy by the weight lycra from Abakhan.  However, I was delighted to find I had enough of the beautiful fabric, from Emerald Erin, that I had used for my swimming costume.   Although only a trial, you want to be able to wear if the fit goes well. Still loads of lining left from B Wear, another good source of lingerie supplies from Sweden. The pattern does need over 8 metres of elastic. I didn’t have quite enough of the rubber elastic which I had from Fit2Sew, a UK supplier with an ever expanding range of products, but I did have some alternative non rubber which not quite as strong but thought would try.

When only pattern weights and a rotary cutter will do. Or in may case heart balloon weights from my wedding party. Still had to neaten up a little as the fabric is so slippy. Using scraps I each piece was cut as a single layer.

IMG_1372.jpg

At this point I thought I would share my favourite aides for sewing with slippery stretch fabric.  I have both stretch and jersey machine needles. Both are ball point but the difference is that the eye of the stretch needle is higher so it produces a longer loop allowing more stretch.  A snippet I picked up from Lauren Guthrie at the Olympia Knitting and Stitching Show. On this note I also use ball point pins and hand sewing needles. All designed to part the fibres rather than piercing so as not to ladder the fabric. I find the bamboo stiletto invaluable for keeping fabric in place whilst under the foot especially on narrow seams. Then I often start seams with some Sitch and Tear underneath to stop the fabric being sucked in.  If I have to do basting I use a silk thread which pulls out easily without leaving any marks.

I did hand baste the linings to the main fabric.  You can use a zigzag or long machine stitch around the edge but sometimes the material just doesn't like being played with.  All the seams for the top are enclosed.  You then attach the elastic to the top edge and band ensuring it will fit into your closure.  Previously I have shied away from attaching elastic using an overlocker but thought I would give it a go as the folded edge looks so much better.  Starting off is a little tricky but after that so quick.  Then the pattern suggests using a twin needle or a three step zigzag to stitch in place.  I have a cover stitch for this but as only a trial I just went with the zigzag especially as my edge had already been covered.

The next step is to attach the bottom band.  This is where I wasn't quite sure where the folded back elastic should sit.  There is a little gap between the overlocked edge and the end of the seam which doesn't quite look right.  The instructions don't show you from this side so can't tell what it should look like.  However, there was a picture in the second PDF file for the bottoms.  The elastic is applied to the band before moving on to the straps.

IMG_1365.jpg

The patterns gives you a really neat way of doing this and there is a link to a video tutorial on the Evie la Luve You Tube channel.  With the strap folded right sides together you use a small zigzag to attach the elastic to the fabric, half on the elastic and half off.  You then trim close to the stitches and turn to the right side using a safety pin or hairgrip.

At this point I pinned the closure on to check the fit.  Very impressed with the fit for me so on to the bottoms.

I basted the lining to the front and back pieces and, unlike the pattern, only one of the top bands as you can enclose the seam for a neater look.  The gusset is applied using the burrito method so then only the side seams needed finishing.

The leg elastic is applied in the round and again I used the overlocker.  All fears now conquered!  The side seam elastic band is applied in the same way as the top.  This time I was a little more careful how I placed against the band and the pattern does include a picture of how this should look.  The instructions for the bottoms are in a second PDF file which I didn't read until I started making up.

Then the big try on.  Unfortunately, not quite what I was expecting.  The band was a very unflattering fit due to the fact my high hip is more or less the same measurement as my low hip as I found out when pattern drafting ie not curvy.  So to find a solution - nude powernet.  I placed the back and front pattern pieces together overlapping by the seam allowance and drew around the curve and straight across the top.  I added the width of the seam and cut out.  I pinned one side in place and tried on.  Solution found!  I finished the edge with the overlocker then  I sewed on from the front going over the same three step zigzag.  For a quick fix doesn't look bad on the inside.

Well another triumph for Evie la Luve.  For me the size options were spot on and no need for any alterations.  What I love about the patterns is that fit exactly how they are described.  This is definitely a go swimming in bikini and not be afraid whether it is still in place when you get out of the pool!  However, there are some important points to make.  The first is that not all fabric is as could as this.  It is a good weight, it recovers well and looked as good after washing.  Second, both top and bottom are lined.  Third, always use the rubber swimwear elastic if you can.  And, as suggested in the instructions, try and use similar products for your test garment as the results can be so different.

What next?  My print to order sport lycra from Spoonflower has arrived as well as tons of elastic from Fit2Sew (and bra finding kits in some lovely colours).  Just waiting for delivery of bikini clasps in an array of colours from Sewing Chest (another great UK supplier).  And to top it all off Evie la Luve is due to release another Bikini pattern this week!!!!!

Latte at Midnight - Evie la Luve pattern release

Inspired by Emerald Erin's Latte at Midnight blog I bought the tulle bra kit and matching bamboo fabric and latte elastic to make a set.  Been busy at work so only just got around to deciding what to make.

IMG_1284.jpg

The bra pattern choice was easy.  I love the Orange Lingerie Marlborough and thought the bra tulle would look good in this style.   So what to make for the set?  I was going to draft my own pattern along the lines of Erin's blog but then I saw on Tailormadeshop's Instagram that Evie la Luve had introduced a new pattern called the Binky.  A big fan I bought both this pattern and her other new release - the Darcey soft bra.  I also realised I hadn't been following her on Instagram!  A quick tap of a button - I don't want to miss any more pattern releases.

Initially I wasn't going to use lace as the kit didn't come with any but when I saw the Binky pattern I thought I would like to get some in there.  I only had scraps of lace from previous kits and even then the colour was more navy than the midnight.  Rummaging around in my lace bag I came across a small piece that had come with my very first bra kit.  It was a test make and I thought a waste of lace.  Not enough for the lace back so thought I would try for the half lace back.  

Such a tight squeeze I ended up photocopying the lace and placing the actual lace on white paper so I could see.  Dark blue on green is not easy.  I thought it best to get the upper cups to match.  Not quite enough lace so the back isn't quite symmetrical but close enough not to be noticeable.  The next big dilemma was the fold over elastic.  I had only ordered plush elastic.  Back to the stash. I had the perfect colour that I had got in a batch from Minerva in an attempt to always have a stock of my most used colours.  Had two metres when the pattern requirements was for 3 metres.  A quick check against the pattern pieces and it would be a close call!  

The Marlborough has been covered so often that just adding a few comments about this particular construction.  I used temporary adhesive to attach the bra tulle to the lace cup.  I prefer to use 1/4" clear elastic, to stabilise the upper cup just under the scallops, using a three step zigzag the width of the elastic.  This seems to work better for me than normal colour matched elastic.  I used two layers of tulle so I could enclose the cup seams.  After I topstitched in place I trimmed the seams back to the stitching so it would look neater from the right side.  I normally wouldn't overlock edges but I wanted to cover the latte powernet seam allowance.  After I had done all I could in the dark blue thread I moved on to the Binky as I didn't want to keep changing thread.

The bamboo knit is so soft and silky but it does mean it can be very stretchy and a little awkward to work with.  I always start sewing with some Stitch N Tear and go slowly using a stretch stitch and a bamboo stiletto to feed the layers evenly.  

I combined style 3 and 4 so had to read the instructions carefully to make sure I got in the right order!

I marked out the point I had to pivot and it came out pretty good with back seam in the right place.  I enclosed the front between the gusset and gusset lining and then basted the gusset pieces using a silk thread which pulls out easily and without leaving a mark.  On to the fold over elastic and a change of thread.  I normally leave a tail of elastic at each end as I find it easy to start and stop but with such a small margin I decided not to.  Makes life a little more difficult but nothing like running out of elastic.

Then I applied the elastic to the front and side front pattern pieces, basted the front sides to the front before appling the elastic to leg openings.  Then back to bra to use the latte thread for the straps.

howtoadjusthookandeye-05.jpg

 I always dab glue stick on both sides of strap elastic to keep it in place whilst sewing and I tend to use my walking foot.  Before I attach the strap to the back I ensure that it fits neatly into the fastener.  The back was a little wide so I mark where it needs to be, redraw a smooth line to blend, pin both sides together and then cut to ensure the backs match.  I also use the stick glue on the inside of the fasteners.

Back to blue thread for the gusset and sides and then I overlock.  I finished the bra by attaching the ring to the front, again using the stick glue to keep in place.

Just the waist elastic to do - with an 1" of elastic over.  So glad I was careful.  I wasn't looking forward to attaching, especially in the gap,  but I took my time and it was fine.

Looking gorgeous all over.  I made my usual Evie la Luve size in the Binky and a perfect fit sitting exactly where they are supposed to.  It goes without saying the Marlborough is a sensational fit.  I never stopped being amazed at what I can produce!

Emerald Erin Jordy Bralette - Lace overlay version

Just a quick look at the making of the lace overlay version of the Jordy Bralette along with the Orange Lingerie Montgomery brief.

IMG_1216.jpg

This time I used the lovely Emerald Erin kit.  Everything I have ordered from the website has been great quality. 

What I like about the pattern is that seam allowances are marked which is particularly helpful when cutting out lace.  As you can see from the second picture I have the point at which the lace cups meet at the low point of the scallop edge.  I then flip over and match for the other side.  I have also placed white paper under the lace so I can actually see the pattern and also helps with a clean cut.  

There was enough of the bra tulle to line the cups.  So for the inner cups I used temporary spray adhesive to keep the lace, tulle and tulle lining in place.  For the outer cup I used the spray to keep the lace and tulle in place.  You can use either a small zigzag or straight stitch along the scallop edge of the lace to attach to tulle.  Then I sandwiched the inner cup between the outer cup and lining.  Perfectly matched cups!

The fold over elastic is then applied to the inner cup first, then the outer cup leaving a tail to attach straps.  I also used some stabilising tape to the tail.  The cups are then attached to the band.  I like to draw in the line along which I can pin the cups.  I sew along the bottom of the cup first on the wrong side and then flip over and sew along the top of the band so all perfectly straight lines. I then trim any excess back to the zigzag.  I did think about overlocking the bottom of the cup but didn't want to create any uncomfortable bulk.

Just the straps left to do,  I like to use a glue pen to keep the straps in place as I sew. 

As I always like to make a set so I went for the Montgomery brief as only a small amount of lace. I used the tulle to line the lace as it does have stretch in one direction.  I attach the clear elastic along the scallop edge with a three step zigzag.  

Back and front prepared, leg elastic added and nearly there.  Just the side seams to finish.

Emerald Erin Pattern Release

I first came across Emerald Erin when I started making lingerie last year.  Sourcing supplies was difficult from here in the UK so I spread the net and tried out a whole range of fabrics and findings for both lingerie and swimwear from her shop.  I was hooked!  So when she released her first patterns I wanted to be one of the first to make.

So we have the Jordy Bralette and the Tuesday Boyshort.  

The Jordy comes with three options - lace overlay, fabric or foam lined version.  The Tuesday has a choice of either classic centre front seam or solid front and you can use either fold over or plush elastic on both versions.  I immediately ordered kits in both as well as a number of other items!

As usual I couldn't wait for the order to get here from Canada so I thought I would have a practice to get the size right.  

 

IMG_1115.jpg

I thought I would try both versions of the Tuesday using fold over on one and plush on the other.  The pattern pieces come with the seam allowances marked so if you use the fold over elastic you need to cut this off.  I did highlight this on the pattern piece for next time.

You can just serge the seams but with curves and 1/4 inch seams I always sew the seam first with a stretch stitch.  I start with some stitch and tear when I sew stretch fabric to stop it being dragged into the machine.

The classic front is straight forward sew with the gusset enclosed in the side seams only.  The solid front has an enclosed gusset by using the "burrito" method.

Here are the two versions before the elastic went on.  The size was spot on although my personal preference is the solid front.

So on to the Jordy.  I started with the foam version and made paper versions to get an idea of the size.

IMG_1147.jpg

This is a really quick make especially as I used straps cut off from another bra.  Again if you are using fold elastic you need to remember to cut off the seam allowance. 

IMG_1132.jpg

I prefer to draw around the foam and then cut out  The foam cup has no seam allowance but you butt the edges together and I sew using a zigzag of  length 4 and width 1 (as per Beverly Johnson)  Perfect match!

You baste the fabric to the foam and attach the fold over elastic before attaching to the band.  I cut the band elastic to the size up just in case.  I drew a line in chalk along the seam allowance to ensure the cups were straight and checked they were equal distance from the centre to ensure neither had stretched out of place.  I attached the straps at the front and pinned at the back so I could gauge the size of the back band,  Once I was happy with bank band I attached the hook and eye fastener.  With the fastener on I checked the straps again before sewing them to the back band.  For straps I always like to use a fabric glue pen to keep in place whilst I sew.   

IMG_1134.jpg

One to the next version with is the lace overlay.  Used items from my stash mostly from leftovers from my Tailor Made kits,  Such good value.  The bralette looks great with the lace Bella pattern from Evie La Luve.  Too much in a hurry to take pictures but will get some when I make the kit,  Just love it when testers are good enough to wear.

Delivery from Emerald Erin

Since I first started making lingerie I have struggled to source supplies here in the UK.  There are a small number of suppliers who I use but they don't always have the range I need to complete a particular project.  Until now I have sourced mostly from B-Wear in Sweden, who are the European distributor for Bra Makers Supply in Canada.  Scouring the internet for patterns and ideas for swimwear I recently came across the Emerald Erin blog and Etsy shop and bought swimwear fabric, lining and elastic as well a grey bamboo knit and black/blush bra kit. All this was in a custom order from Canada.  The items arrived promptly, were beautifully wrapped and looked gorgeous. This is what I made!

Untitled-TurboCollage-Exported-Imageee.jpg

I apologise for both my model who is a little smaller than me and my photography skills.  I can only get better.  I am also trying to source a lingerie dress form in my size!

The swimming costume was a bit of a journey.  I purchased the Beverly Johnson Craftsy class (I now have the complete set) and bought some practice fabric, sold by weight, from Abakhan in the UK.  The first pattern I tried was Beverly's Denise pattern as she uses this in the class.  A good basic pattern but I was looking for something more sporty.  Then I moved onto Jalie 3134 which looked a little too sporty.  The one I decided to make up in my lovely fabric was Jalie 3350.  I chose the twisted front, the open back and adjustable straps.  The front is lined with pockets for optional swim cups.  The pattern requires a little concentration to get the twist right but looks and fits beautiful.  It stayed put during swimming and washed well.

Moving on to the black and blush bra kit which I bought because the colours  looked beautiful, I had then to decide what bra to make with it.  Having read good reviews  I decided to try the Marlborough bra pattern from Orange Lingerie.  I already have both the Boylston and Fenway patterns which have clear and concise instructions.  I usually make a trial bra in any new pattern but after mocking up in paper I decided to use the size I made in the Fenway,  My lace didn't have a scalloped edge so I used fold over elastic instead.  I lined all pieces with bra tulle and also added cut and sew foam to the power bar enclosing it in the side and bottom seam only (having seen this on a RTW bra).  I was amazed at the fit and it looks stunning.

Then I had a small amount of non stretch lace left so off I went to look for a panties (or whatever item specific term I should use) pattern that could accommodate this.  My search brought me to Ohhh Lulu and the Grace pattern.  The lace front and back panel are supposed to be cut on the bias to give the stretch but I didn't have enough fabric to do this so the fit is a little snug.  Again I lined the lace.  For the sides I used stretch mesh which was a little awkward to hem .  Overall I think this is the prettiest and best fitting set I have made. A bargain for the cost of the bra kit.

The metre of bamboo I bought to see how soft it was and once again I had to decide what to do with it.  The fabric is really soft and lovely to touch so I decided to make a soft bra - something I hadn't done for myself before.  Having just bought the Grace pattern I remembered the Romy soft bra pattern.  There is no cup size just XS to XXL.  I made the medium and  had to cut a little off the back to get a snug fit.  I used black powernet for the back band as the fabric was a little too stretchy for proper support.  Again I was amazed how great it looked.  The only issue for me was that the band elastic was not quite wide/strong enough but it was all I had.  

To complement the look I used the Claudia pattern in the lace version, again in medium.  Another amazing fit.  

 

With more material over I made the Watson bikini in a medium which came out a little on the large side but I think some of this is the stretch of the fabric. I also made my husband the trunk version of Jalie 3242.  Still more left but undecided what to do with it.  Another day.