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.

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!

More Lingerie

Deciding what to do next became more of a problem over Christmas as the arrival of the Cricut Maker and the Sizzix Big Shot brought even more possibilities.  So many new skills to learn. I was quite glad when the kit I bought on discount arrived from Costura Secret shop.  Instagram is great for promotion alerts.  

Bra and Pantie Kit

Bra and Pantie Kit

Everyone seems to be using Scuba for lingerie so I thought I would give it a try.  This fabric had caught my eye on Instagram and I bought on  a deal over Christmas.  The description does give a list of bras patterns that would be suitable.  When the kit arrived the plush elastic for the bra band was only 3/8" and not 1/2" which I would use for the underarm not a bra band.  For some the fabric for the gusset was not cotton may be an issue.

I did have all the patterns mentioned but I had been thinking of trying the wrap around version of Willow bra pattern by Evie La Luve.  There is plenty of fabric and foe to make what you want.  I did need extra strapping and findings included a front closure for the back strap. So the back strap had to be red and I swapped out the gold findings for rose gold (from Evie La luves' etsy shop) as I had everything I needed in this colour. 

The bralette is a "C" cup fitting.  I didn't make a trial version as I use this brand of patterns quite a lot and have a good idea of how they fit.  I crossed over two sizes so I made the smaller one as the pattern doesn't have a back closure which I usually end up adjusting,

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Once everything is cut out you baste the fabric to the lining of the centre front pieces before attaching foe.  You could just use temporary adhesive but in this instance I used a silk thread which pulls out easily without leaving any marks.  The pattern is specific about how much foe to cut.  I always add 1/2" each end as I find fitting to the edge fiddly and then trim excess.  

You then enclose this seam between the fabric and lining of the side front.  To reduce the bulk the instructions tell you to grade the seam cutting the lining fabric shortest and press.  I left the same length as the lining is quite sheer and I didn't want to be able to see the dark fabric on the inside of the bra.  Once pressed the seam was fine.  

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After repeating for the other side you enclose the side front between the fabric and lining back.  Just the strapping to put on now.

 

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I always switch to my walking foot when making and applying straps because of the bulk.  I also find using a fabric glue pen helps keep the strap in place as I sew.  Nothing worse than wonky straps.

The patterns says to use 5/8" rings for the main front pieces.  I didn't have any this size and the 1/2" ones I did use didn't cause any problems.

The fit is pretty good although I did have to make the straps quite short.

Then I had to choose what panties to make.  I remembered that the Frankie pattern has a version with a dip back and strap that would match the bralette.  You can make this pattern in so may variations.  I chose to do the fabric front with foe and lace back.  

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I usually play around with the placement of the lace so that the seam line falls at the low point of the lace.  I then cut one side and flip over to find the mirror image.  Perfect!  As the lace is so fiddly I  always use a stretch stitch to sew the back seam before I serge The next step is to enclose the front between fabric and lining gusset and then apply foe to the leg openings.  I also made the back strap at this point whilst Ihad red thread in the machine.

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Again I use a stretch stitch before I serge when I attach front to back and side seams.  Although I had plenty of red foe left I used navy as I thought it would look better with the lace. 

Looks fabulous and I think my FOE technique is so much better.

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!