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.

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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Evie La Luve Inspiration and Art Gallery Fabric

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I saw this Art Gallery fabric (Pandalicious Yinghua Cherrylight) in one of Hannah's tutorials and decided I must have some.  I found it on an a number of websites but used Minerva Crafts as I get a 10% discount on all purchases as a member of their Craft Club.  

As the Esme pattern is my go to pattern I made this version first.  The fit is fabulous and the cross over lace looks gorgeous whatever you make it in.  Just as I bought the fabric Hannah launched her Frankie pattern so the other two in the Art Gallery fabric are versions 1 and 3.  The Frankie's are a mid rise fit perfect for every day wear.  There are over 40 combinations  using variations of wide stretch lace, narrow stretch lace, fabric and elastics and all with beautiful colour instructions it really is a must have pattern.  I have since made a lace overlay version but have yet to make the dip and strap back version, although I have bought the rose gold findings for when I find the right fabric.  

The bra is my own design using foam cups from BWear based on a technique I picked up from Beverly Johnson's Craftsy Class - Sewing Bras: Foam, Lace & Beyond.  You place a piece of the fabric on the cup and work it around the perimeter so it is smooth and without puckers or creases.  If I am using FOE for the front edge I then zigzag all around from the inside and cut back the fabric to the cup.   The fabric is really stretchy so I lined the frame and bridge with sheer nylon.  For extra support and to enclose the seams I lined the back band with a microfibre tricot stretch fabric which is really soft against the skin.  

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As I have seen so many good reviews I thought I would also try the Watson bra from Cloth Habit.  The instructions are so good with an explanation of stretch fabrics and guidance as to the stitch length and width to use.  I used a tricot lining for the cradle and lined the cups and band with what I consider a light powernet.  The size guide was pretty accurate for me but next time I make this bra I would probably make the longline version for that extra bit of support. 

To complete the set I used the rest of the mint lace to make the free pattern from So Sew Easy.  There is more of the Art Gallery fabric but that is for another day!