Who needs a reason to make more lingerie!

I don’t but I have lost so much weight since I have been back in the gym that nothing really fits so August turned into a bit of a lingerie sewing marathon. Luckily I have a stack of patterns to work with but picked up a few more along the way. So here are a few of my makes.

Emerald Erin Black Beauty

Emerald Erin Black Beauty

Orange Lingerie Devonshire

Orange Lingerie Devonshire

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Having found my most recent make, the Emerald Erin Black Beauty, to be a perfect fit I thought I would make another version. I was intending to use one of the tulle kits in pistachio or rose with latte findings but Nellie Joans posted a kit with mint and seashell pink and I was sold. I checked my stash and was really pleased to be able to put together a similar look using a Tailor Made kit. I added the nude foam as I wanted a pretty day bra without any show through. For a set I made both an Orange Lingerie Montgomery brief and a plain Evie la Luve Binky.

The tulle comes specially cut and laid out in two layers, with opposing direction of stretch and soft sides out, ready to cut into as a single layer. So much attention to detail with both the kit and the pattern means you get a bra that fits as it should. I pretty much followed the instructions except I added an extra layer of nude tulle so I could enclose all the seams of the cradle.

Luckily I had bought some stretch tulle from Small Bobbins which matched perfectly. A bit wary of using such sheer material for underwear I first made the Montgomery brief. This uses two layers for a no vpl look. A big favorite of mine as you can use just a scrap of lace. The coral and pink lace from Fit2Sew worked perfectly but I only had a small piece meant for the upper cup of a bra. I lined the lace with some nude mesh.

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The stretch tulle was so easy to work with that I decided to try a very sheer Binky. All three look absolutely amazing. So I moved on to using the scrap of lace left. I wanted something to match the first Black Beauty and went back to another Emerald Erin pattern, the Tuesday boyshort. I ended up photocopying the lace to make sure I could get a match. Worked beautifully with the pink bamboo also from Emerald Erin.

Around the same time the Black Beauty was released Orange Lingerie released the Devonshire bra. The patterns description says “I wanted to create beautiful uplift with delicate lace… Vertical seams are great for uplift and the result of the cup structure with the lace scallop edge is just gorgeous!” And that is exactly what you get!

The timing was perfect as it was released just as my order from Tailor Made arrived. I made up a paper cup to check the size and worked with that. For a little more support I added the navy foam (Fit2Sew) rather than line. Again I followed the instructions except for the front strap. Rather than a fabric strap I attached navy ribbon to the gorgeous neon pink that came with the kit to stabilise. I didn’t have a bright pink fastener so I made my own from pink duoplex using another Orange Lingerie pattern - the Leverett. A little fiddly but but well worth the effort.

As with all Tailor Made kits there was plenty of lace to make both the Studio Costura Stella Panties and an all lace Evie la Luve Esme which I hadn’t done before. The colours are just amazing and fit beautifully.

Without making this too long I just want to add two more makes. The first is the free Madalynne Raquel bralette pattern using some some beautiful lace and dot stretch mesh that I picked in person when she came over to London! I added a middle strap to the centre front and stabilised all three pieces. This is just so amazingly pretty and looks fabulous.

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And I thought I would finish with another beautiful Bra-makers Supply Ruby. This is the third I have made to match my diminishing size and their BCD method works every time! So now I am three band and cup sizes smaller than when I made my first. It looks and fits perfect. What I like is that it is made using supplies from relatively local sources. Evie la Luve is now stocking soft foam in beautiful colours along with matching powernet. This is called shell and is perfect with the lace from Sew Your Own Wardrobe. This is for everyday wear and teamed with another Stella.

I adjusted the pattern for a lace upper cup as well as a lace frame. As this is a four piece cup I carefully marked all the notches as well as labelled the corners to make sure I got the right way up. The foam pieces matched perfectly.

I made the cups up first and then added a tapered short strap which I had seen on Beverly Johnson’s Bluprint (was called Craftsy) Sewing Bras: Designer Techniques class. For the cradle I permanently adhered the lace to the tulle using Misty Fuse, another Beverly tip. Then I had to decide on the actual strap as the colour I thought of using wasn’t quite right. So with Strap-tember Bramakers Challenge in mind I cut a strip of the lace wide enough to wrap the strap. I then attached to the strap along the raw edge using the overlocker so I could then wrap around leaving the scallop edge on top which I stitched in place. What a result!

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This took up a lot of lace so after much playing around with the pattern pieces I went with the configuration that left the smallest gap. I already needed a piece for the middle as the lace wasn’t wide enough (good tip from Studio Costura). I matched the corner with a scrap of lace. I stitched in place with a small zigzag and then trimmed back to the stitching with applique scissors. As it is close to the seam allowance and the fold of the waist elastic you can’t see it. With no lace leftover I made the gusset with the powernet and looks fabulous.

And now for a break!

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.