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.

Lace Perfection - Courtesy of Evie la Luve and Braugust2018

Been so busy with holiday and then work that I have not had chance to make anything with the beautiful kit I won for the #Braugust2018 Evie la Luve Mix and Match day. Having recently made the Darcey and Binky with this lace I wanted to try something different. So off I went and I think the result is amazing!

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The lace is so pretty and feminine so I wanted to find a pattern that could do it justice. Having made the Darcey bralette I looked around for a bra pattern. Evie la Luve had posted a few pictures on Instagram of some bra ideas she had been playing around with but said the pattern wouldn’t be out for a while. So I turned to my pattern stash. The Madalynne X Simplicity 8436 would be perfect.

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So I cut out my normal size and thought I would get a bit clever and try to make some foam pads as in the Madalynne X Simplicity 8624. I traced off the pattern and then used the foam pieces of the 8624 to get the shape. The dart was slightly longer on the 8436 so I made the curve at the point of the dart. Then I realised two things. One this was going to be too small and, second, the lace is so open it needed to be lined for support.

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I went up a cup size and cut out the pieces again. This time with lining. Choosing the lining was difficult. I really needed to use a strong powernet for support but the colours I had would just spoil the pretty look I was going for so went with the perfect colour, although a little lightweight. The idea is to spray baste the lace and lining in one go and then cut out. When using the scalloped edge of lace it is not always possible to work with the fabric in its greatest direction of stretch but with the lining you need to think which way you want to place this. I was using a powernet which has a definite direction of stretch so I used two separate pieces of lining in different directions for the cups and band. The centre front I lined with sheer lining for stability. As it looked so pretty as this point I decided not to use the foam inserts.

For this pattern I couldn’t find any tutorials or sew along on Madalynne’s website so went along with the printed pattern instructions. In a rush to get finished I only skim read. The darts and neckline elastic are first. Both the lace and fabric are hard to mark so used my pink chaco liner. I have three of these - white, yellow and pink. The yellow and pink can stain so I use with care on the wrong side. I like to trace the line of the dart to make sure they are perfectly matched.

Then I applied clear elastic to the scalloped edge of the cup. I prefer clear elastic with such a sheer lace. Even with a prefect colour match you could still see this through the lace. The instructions use a normal zigzag but I prefer to use a three step zigzag the width of the elastic as this seems to eliminate any tunnelling.

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Then you attach the cups to centre front followed by the bands. I pin everything in place and then sew from one end of the cup to the other. This then leaves a line of sewing between the band and front (marked by the arrows) that you can use as a guide when applying the channeling. I applied the channeling slightly different to the pattern. I don’t pre-cut to the length of the cup but I apply directly along the line of stitching keeping taut as I do and leaving a tab at either end. I don’t start stitching for about 1/2” from the underarm seam. I use my Stitch in the Ditch foot to stitch as close to possible to the seam line. Then I fold up over the cup stitch the other side the same distance from the edge. The pattern has you start the channeling 3/8” (which is the the width of the elastic) away from the underarm

The next step is to apply the plush elastic to the upper edge. At this point I check the fit of the fastener. If too wide I can shape the band. If too narrow I can position the elastic further off the edge. Then I realised the pattern didn’t include any band elastic. Always read the instructions in full before starting! As my lace and powernet were so lightweight I would definitely need some extra support. This should have been applied to the band before it was attached to the cup. Rather than undo everything I applied 1/2”plush elastic along the edge with the picot edge upwards. When I got as far a I could, I stopped and cut round the cup. With my zipper foot on I sewed down this curved section. Then I applied fray check to the edge. Looked fine and so on to the top elastic.

As with other Simplicity patterns all the seam allowances are 1/4”. You need to to extend the elastic 1/8” over the edge. With the previous make I marked the 1/4” but this time I just went with my eye. Again I didn’t cut the elastic. I keep taut as I am applying, stretching more over the armpit area to give a snug fit. Now I fix the channeling at the underarm. I fold over the elastic and mark where this sits on the channeling. I then cut the channeling to sit between the the first pass and the bottom of the elastic. I then do the second pass with a three step zigzag enclosing the channeling.

With the fastener on, the straps made and attached to the front I try on and check the length and placement. I took about 3” off the strap as otherwise it would need tightening all the way back down to the band. The pattern comes with an underwear pattern but I wanted an all lace look so went to my favourite Evie la Luve Bella pattern. This is a great pattern if your lace isn’t that deep. Just enough lace left to match sides. Whipped these up in no time. Such an impressive make in such a short time.

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The prize not only included the kit but also the Lingerie Project Book and any two PDF patterns. As I already have most of the patterns I went for the Chloe thong and the Xo bra. The Xo is not a lace bra so I put that aside for another day and went on to make the thong.

I made some minor modifications to the pattern to make best use of the lace. I wanted to make the front piece and gusset all in one. This would mean I couldn’t enclose the lining at the front but it was the look I was after. So I printed another gusset and cut in half. I marked the 1/4” seam allowance on the front edge and I placed the gusset edge along the line, eliminating the seam allowance.

The placement of the lace was determined by its width. This lace has a mirrored pattern so I could fold in half. I placed the bottom edge of the pattern piece at the low point of the scallop on the bottom edge and cut up around the leg until it came off the lace at the top edge. I then used spray adhesive to hold in place whilst I used a small zigzag to attach along the scallop. Then finished in the normal way. Another triumph.

I always like to finish with a picture of the reverse side. So amazingly pretty for an afternoons work.

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