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.