Madalynne Simplicity X Kits 8229 and 8228 - So Beautiful

In between other projects I have been working my way through the Madalynne Simplicity pattern bundle waiting for the right fabric to come along. I was just so excited when Madalynne launched the latest batch of kits which included this beautiful white lace for the 8229 bra with a matching underwear kit for the 8228. Normally I would get a set out of a bra kit but with the underwear kit I was able to make three very different styles to match the bra.

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The kits come in a gorgeous presentation box that is reusable. What was really sweet was that Madalynne had added a wire size either side of the one I asked for - fortunate given I needed the larger one! I first looked to see how much fabric was included with each kit so I could determine if I could get more than one set out. The bra kit only really contains enough to make the bra but the underwear kit was very generous.

There is a set of tissue pattern pieces for each band size which includes all the cup sizes. I prefer to photocopy and then cut the size I want from the copy. The kit is for a foam lined bra but the pattern does not include the any instructions to make the bra this way. Having made a number of foam bras recently I made a further copy of the cup pieces to adjust for foam. I took the cup seam allowance from each piece. You can also take off the arm edge to reduce bulk when folding over the plush elastic but I have found it looks better if this is left. There is a video tutorial on the site on how to cover the upper edge which includes instructions on how to make the foam cup.

Most bra patterns include seam allowances for the width of elastic to be used at each edge. However, the Simplicity patterns use 1/4” so the instructions have you position the elastic 1/8” or whatever the difference is between 1/4” and elastic width off the edge of the elastic. In the past I have marked the line on the fabric so it is even. This time I have added the extra to my pattern pieces so that I can line up the elastic with edge of the fabric to make life easier. So I adjusted both the bottom of the frame and band by 3/8” to accommodate the elastic in the kit. The armhole elastic in the kit is 1/4” so no adjustment needed.

The frame is cut in one from a layer of the white stretch mesh and the dot mesh held together with temporary adhesive spray. This is still really stretchy so I left on the paper I used to cover the mat for spraying and cut through the paper as well. This gives a really clean cut and the fabric stays in place as it is slightly tacky from the spray. I played around with the lace pieces to find where I wanted the centre join. Elastic is applied to centre upper edge of the frame. I changed out the nude provided for white.

The foam cups went together well. I covered the top edge with a sheer cup lining following the video tutorial as I feel it adds a really delicate touch to the finish. I covered with lace cups and basted in place. Then I attached to the very stretchy frame before moving on to the back bands. I enclosed the frame between the two layers of mesh and powernet to give extra support and a clean finish,

The bra was taking shape and already looking beautiful. I applied the plush elastic before applying white chaneling rather than the nude provided. Then onto the straps. The kit comes with some narrow strap elastic to make the pretty version shown on the website. However, this version is not covered in the pattern and I couldn’t find any links to make the strap this way. So it required a little guesswork as to the placement and length of elastic to use and playing around a little but looks fabulous. Then on to the underwear kit.

I have used this pattern before so I had the pieces traced off and ready to use. Again two layers of mesh are put together. Then my sewing woes started when attaching the lace sides to the centre front and back. The mesh just didn’t like me. In the end I stitched with tearaway stabiliser underneath. A little press and all sorted.

I used the elastic guides provided as this worked well last time. However, I did overlap first and then attach in the round using the quarter method as I find I get a more even distribution.

A quick make I moved on to the Ohhh Lulu Claudia hipster, a contrast to the high waisted 8228. Another versatile pattern using any combination of lace and fabric. I made a lace back with the front using the two layer mesh combination. Then I went off piste and cut a lace gusset (which I didn’t need) out of one of my back panels! Luckily just got another back panel from the left over lace. You join the back pieces and then enclose between the front panel and gusset lining, remembering there should be a gap for the leg elastic to fold over.

I took my time to ensure all the edges matched up perfectly. So worth the effort for such a perfect finish. I finished the waist with some, what I would call, “off white” fold over elastic.

That was going to be it, but as I tidied up I thought there must be enough to squeeze something else out. I thought about incorporating the narrow strap elastic to match the bra. I have another Ohhh Lulu pattern, the Nora, which has a version with adjustable sides that I thought I could use.

This pattern uses fold over elastic for the legs so I had to add on the width of my plush elastic. I just used my curved ruler which has a 1/4” line to fit the line of the pattern and cut around this for both the front and back pieces as well as the gusset whilst the spray was still tacky to stop the fabric moving. Then I got the widest piece of elastic left and used temporary spray adhesive to place over the front piece as high as possible and then cut around the leg to match the front piece. Unbelievably, the gusset piece I had mistakenly cut out of lace was a perfect for this gusset. Just a little trimming needed. Both front and back gusset seams are enclosed before applying the elastic.

To finish I placed two strands of the narrow elastic level with the edge of the side front right side up. I used a small straight stitch to attach the elastic along the 1/2 seam allowance. I then folded the seam allowance back and using a small zigzag I stitched the seam allowance down covering the raw edge. You can do this seam enclosing the elastic by turning it back on itself but it can be bulky. I wasn’t going to make adjustable sides so I measured the adjusted width of elastic on my previous makes, added the seam allowance and attached to the back using the same method. Another perfect match.

And now for a rest - well onto my Sew Over It knit kit!

Straps, Lace and Foam - Part 2

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I came across Sew Swimmingly during the #Braugust 2018 Instagram challenge and eagerly awaited the release of the Veronica pattern. Well, I wasn’t disappointed. How good does this look? I teamed with the side strap version of the Ohhh Lulu Nora. Great Match.

I thought I would make in one of the metallic mesh fabrics I had bought from Madalynne. The choice was based on the availability of the right colour strap elastic - blush it was to be.

There aren’t any pictures of the back so I hadn’t realised it was a pull on until I bought the pattern. A big issue for me with my wide shoulders but I thought I would make it to get a feel for the sizing of a new designer, for me.

it is really hard to get a good picture of the fabric but it is gorgeous.

I started with the cut and sew foam. The bra can be made without but it’s recommended for extra support. Unlike the Jasmine this pattern doesn’t have a lining to enclose the foam so I used some silky soft foam. Unfortunately I can’t remember where I got it from!! Once I cut the foam out I put a red circle around the foam on the pattern piece so I wouldn’t get messed up when I made this again. The pieces went together well. The pattern instructions do not give a specific size for the zigzag to use to butt the pieces together. I went for 4 wide and 1.5 wide as taught in the Beverly Johnson class “Sewing Bras: Foam, Lace & Beyond”.

Then onto the fabric. The mesh is so fine it had to be lined. As I had used the beige foam I needed a more opaque fabric than the blush mesh I had so I ended up using a lilac powernet that also had some shine to it. Rather than waste powernet I first cut out in the mesh and sprayed these pieces with temporary adhesive spray and then placed on the powernet as economically as possible.

I placed the pattern pieces back over to cut around again as the mesh had already stretched out. A tip I have picked up along the way is to place paper underneath and cut through this which gives a really clean cut with lace and lots of other fine fabrics. All my pieces were the same size.

As I had two layers of fabric I wanted to minimise the bulk in the seam allowances. I graded the side seams, pushed over to the side cup and then topstitched them down. The centre I pressed open and again used my stitch in the ditch for accurate topstitching. I trimmed all back to the stitching line.

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Next you place the front over the foam. At this point I machine stitched all along to keep all the layers together to make it easier to attach the band and elastics rather than just pin as instructed in the pattern.

I used the same combination of mesh and powernet for the band so I could enclose the front. The band piece doesn’t actually say cut on fold but it seemed quite obvious.

I did check the size against another pull on and it looked about right. After turning to the right side I basted the top and bottom of the band so there is no movement of the two layers whilst I attached the elastic.

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I have lot of pink fold over elastic to choose from but went for a baby pink from Minerva Crafts. There are no guidelines for the amount of elastic to use other than to stretch slightly to ensure it hugs the body. I am quite happy to use this method for the sides. However, for the front elastic I measured and took off an inch and marked the centre point so I would use the same on each side and on both sides of the curve. This seemed to work pretty well.

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On to the bottom edge elastic. There is no mention of width of plush elastic to use so I went with the wider of my two elastics which was 1/2”. For the band, the instructions tell you to deduct 2” from the exact measurement. For my previous make, where I just went with a gentle pull, it doesn’t hug quite enough. It is really important to trim all those layers back to the zigzag so when you fold over and use the correct size three step zigzag you are only going through the one set of fabric and the elastic.

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Then on to the strapping. The instructions say to use 3/8” elastic, rings and sliders. I only had 1/2” but that worked fine. Where there are multiple elastics going through the rings it would have probably been better to use 5/8” rings. Having said that, once on and stretched in place it looks fine. There is quite a lot of bulk when attaching the rings to the bralette and I would have preferred a longer straight piece to fold over. The satin stitching over the unfinished edge does look neat.

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So for a matching set. I remembered I had an Ohhh Lulu pattern with some side strapping. I had made a while ago and remembered the gusset was too wide for my body shape. So first I put the pieces together, taking into account the seam allowances and used my curved ruler to redraw the line I needed. Again I would need to line the mesh. This time I went with the blush mesh and cut in one piece using temporary adhesive spray again.

A pretty quick make after this. As the fabric is so stretchy I measured out the fold over elastic. For the legs I deducted 1 1/2”, 1 1/4” for the back and 1” for the front so I could get a snug fit. For the legs I divided into quarters to make sure I got an even fit . The waist I matched at the middle. I like the way the strapping is finished by joining at the seam allowance and then folding back on itself. I finished off with a satin stitch, again catching in the unfinished edge. This is so much neater than my first pair when I had just started to sew lingerie.

So the verdict on the Veronica. Whilst the instructions only have technical drawings and not photos, for me this was not a problem. If you are new to sewing lingerie, especially fold over elastic, it may be helpful to have a guide and maybe what width plush elastic to use. What I was impressed by was how well it fit and the look is sensational. I wasn’t expecting the halter neck to be so comfortable but it sat in exactly the right place. The adjusted Nora fitted perfectly and looks fabulous with the Veronica.

Straps, Lace and Foam - Part One

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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.

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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.

Summer Lingerie Part 2 - Ohhh Lulu Grace and Romy Purple Perfection

Next up is the purple contrast. I think I have spent more time thinking about what to make than sewing but the deliberation was worth it.  Another stunning set.

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For this set I wanted to make use of the purple powernet from Sewing Chest. I scoured my lingerie pattern folders as I still have some not yet tried. But in the end went with the Ohhh Lulu Grace Hipster and the Romy soft bra. Previous makes that had fit well.

The Grace is good for scraps of fabric and you can use woven fabrics on the bias for the centre front and back pieces.  Although I have used non stretch lace cut on the grainline when I didn’t have enough left from making a bra.  Fit a bit snug but still worked.  

This pattern is for regular elastic so the first job was to print out the pattern again and take off the elastic allowances off the waist and leg openings as I wanted to use fold over elastic.  The pattern has 1/2” seam allowances so I trimmed down to 1/4” making sure I marked this version of the pattern in red for when I use again.  This is where my plethora of rulers come in handy.  And, where no line I can use on my curved rulers I have the little seam allowance guide and I just join up the marks.  I bought the rulers after taking a lingerie pattern drafting class with Lorna Knight.  They have proved really useful both in drafting my own patterns and making adjustments to others.  

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This time I fussy cut the pieces a little to make sure I got some of the dark purple in each of the pattern pieces  Took a bit longer to cut out but worth doing.  I used a frixon pen to draw around one side and then flipped the piece over and drew around that so I could see the pattern piece in full.  If wrong just steam the mark and start again!

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The first step is to finish the front edge of the gusset lining as it is not enclosed in a seam.  I did this with what is called a double overcasting stitch on my sewing machine.  Not as good a coverage but I have taken to doing this on small sections when I am too lazy to get out the overlocker and/or not wanting to thread bobbins if I want the thread to match the fabric. Then on to the side seams.  I didn’t want the fabric to be seen through the powernet so I used my cover stitch with woolly nylon in the looper to keep the seam to the centre. Then I just trimmed the seam as close as I could to the stitching.

Just the fold over elastic to apply  I have found Evie La Luve’s guidelines to be a good fit.  I measured around the leg and waist and took off 1 1/4” for the leg and 1 1/2” for the waist.  My way of joining is to use a straight stitch over Stitch N Tear starting and finishing in the middle so I have no threads to cut off at the ends.  I then use a fabric water soluble glue pen to keep the seam allowance in place whilst I attach.  To finish I steam the elastic - it makes all the difference.  A great tip from Norma (Orange Lingerie).

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Moving on to the Romy.  The earlier version I made did ride up a little because the band elastic was not strong enough for purpose so I was going to use some wider and stronger elastic.  I meant to allow for this but I got carried away with fussing cutting the cups that I forgot to do.  However, the band elastic I used this time was much better quality.  BWear, one of the suppliers I use, does indicate the % stretch which is useful to know.  Looking lovely already!

The previous version I made was a lace neckline edge so this was a slightly different make.  You enclose the front upper cup edge between the front lower cup fabric and lining.  Although I matched the notches I was a bit concerned whether I had them in the right place but looked find when turned the right way.  The option is to understitch the seam allowance to the lining but I just trimmed the seam allowance down to 1/4".   

Then you enclose this front cup between the side cup fabric and lining.  Again I trimmed the seam allowance as very bulky with all the layers. 

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The bands are then enclosed using the burrito method. You pin the band to the right side of the fabric then bring the lining over like a sandwich.  Then you turn to right side so all enclosed.

The cups are then joined at the centre seam.  The instructions recommend basting by hand first as you have to sew from the very bulky fabric to the relatively thin mesh.  This can cause movement and the look depends on these points matching.

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You can either press this seam open or overlock and press to one side.  Pressing to one side, for me, is not aesthetically pleasing when using mesh but I didn't want to leave without finishing so I stitched a short line either side trimming back to the stitching line.  Not yet done in the picture but I then changed thread and did the same in white for the fabric keeping the seam flat and neat.

 

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There are no guides for the length of  fold over elastic just a gentle pull.  I am now getting a feel for what this means and the v of the neckline went well.  I am a little more enthusiastic along the underarm as fold over elastic is not as supportive as normal plush back elastic.

Then I had to make  decision at to what colour strap, band elastic and fastener use as I couldn't source the right colour purple.  A very difficult colour to gauge on a computer screen.  I went with white and it was the right choice.  Give myself a little pat on the back!

 

Part 4 – Evie la Luve Darcey and Binky

Part 3 - Evie la Luve Rosie and Esme

Part 1 - Cloth Habit Watson and Evie la Luve Binky

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!

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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.