I arrived home from Mexico and wasn’t particularly filled with sewing mojo, to be honest, but happily this was short-lived, because I saw that Pattern Review had announced a short, two week Lingerie Sewing Contest for the second half of October! This was just what I needed to kick me into action and remind me that I’d been meaning to alter the seaming on my bra cup pattern after I’d made the eyelash bra.
The cups on that one were fine, but I have some gorgeous turquoise lace in my stash from Danglez’ closing down sale (sniff!), and it was too narrow for my one-dart cup pattern. So before I could even start sewing, I had to do some pattern drafting manipulation first – introducing some seam lines to account for the narrow lace, split and rotate the dart around a bit, and voila! Now I’ve got a three part cup!
I was so happy with the fit of this bra that I made myself a matching pair of Lacey Thongs (my free downloadable pattern, if you’d forgotten!) to go with it.
Seriously though – I think this must be about the 8th or 9th bra I’ve sewn, but only about the second I’d wear out of the house. Sewing a bra is easy – getting the bra to fit properly, feel comfortable, and look flattering is beyond challenging. I think I understand other people’s frustrations with trouser fitting now, because this bra fitting journey has been character-building!
My real breakthrough came when I stopped using commercial patterns and just traced existing RTW bras instead. For me, they were a much, much closer starting point than the bizarre cup shapes provided in the KwikSew and Elan patterns I’d previously tried.read more >>
Summer in England is a rare thing, but we have had an overflowing bounty of gorgeous, sunny, and hot weather for the past three weeks and counting! So it’s natural that the heat would go to my brain and cause me to make some out-of-character sewing choices, right?
As I revealed last week, this manifested in the form of some super-bright pink trousers, and a teeshirt made from cream stretch lace:
The lace teeshirt was ridiculously quick to sew up – I’ve had the lace in my stash for several years now after buying it at Tissu Dreyfus on one of my Paris trips, and some of you may even remember it from when I used it on a long-sleeved KnipMode tee. I love that those photos were in the snow and now I’m using it again in a heatwave! I just used my knit sloper I’d drafted from the Kristina Shin book, only I levelled off the sleeve hem rather than the usual scoop.
The construction was identical to any other teeshirt, and the only real point of note here is in the neckline binding – I didn’t have any matching cream jersey, and I didn’t want to just fold it under and topstitch, so I had the great idea to use the selvedge as a band, and just overlocked it in place. It matches, it’s lightweight, and it’s guaranteed not to fray!
The trousers were much more interesting from a construction standpoint! I had a bunch of Mood fuchsia stretch cotton sateen leftover from my fuchsia party dress (which is still my go-to party dress btw – I’m getting lots of wear out of that!) and I knew I wanted some fun Spring/Summer trousers. In my original Spring/Summer 2013 ideas, I thought I’d reuse the Burda Jan 12 pattern I’d made in grey flannel, but then I really wanted to try a StyleArc trouser pattern, and I already had the Jasmine pattern to hand, and it’s for stretch wovens. Perfect!
Things I like about the Jasmine pattern:read more >>
When summer weather comes to England, it’s always something of a surprise. Those in other countries may not be aware, but just because the calendar says June, July, or August, does not mean it’ll be either hot or sunny. Sometimes “summer” comes one weekend in March, or in a few days in September. Or in the case of 2012, not at all.
In any case, summer has arrived, and for the past week, it’s felt hot here. I think the heat may be getting to my brain somewhat, because I’m 99% finished sewing up a summer outfit:
Yes, that would be shocking pink trousers and a cream stretch lace teeshirt, dear readers. I both hope look as good in the photos as they do in my head!
The other development of note is one of a more digital nature – for a while now some of you have been asking if it’s possible to get my new posts delivered my email (instead of RSS or just popping by when you remember to!), and I’ve finally got round to setting this up!
If you pop your email address into the box on your left (or, repeated below), then you’ll get a summary of all the week’s posts emailed to you every Saturday! My test version from last week looked like this:read more >>
Continuing on with Lingerie Week, I wanted to give you some extra construction tips on my Lacey Thong pattern that wouldn’t quite fit in the pattern itself (if you start adding in large photos, the Pdf filesize goes up really quickly!).
First of all, I wanted to start with two areas I’ve had some questions on:
“The 4cm ruler isn’t 4cm when I print it”. If the ruler on page 3 isn’t measuring exactly 4cm when you print it, then the print software you’re using is scaling the pattern! I use Preview on OSX, and I know it’s got its quirks – on this particular programme, if you enter in 100% and just click Print, it’ll still print at whatever the settings were before you changed them. You need to enter 100%, tap elsewhere in the print preview to watch the thumbnail resize, and then click Print. I’m sure other programmes have their quirks, too, but the bottom line is, if your ruler doesn’t measure 4cm, the pattern is not at the proper scale!
“Which size should I choose?” Sizing if difficult from a pattern creator’s perspective, because so many bodies wear a full range of sizes. I’m most confident of the Burda sizes recommended (much less so for the Big Four), so if you know your Burda size, go with that. The finished half-hip measurement is probably less helpful, but it’ll save some of you measuring it yourself.
If you’re unsure of your size, another approach to take it to “try on” the elastic before you start. Measure the waist elastic for the different sizes (pin or mark it, don’t cut!) and try it out by checking the feel around your half hip area (these panties sit over your hip bones, well below your belly button). The elastic should be snug and partially stretched, but not tight or loose.
During the construction of my black pair I took some photos of the trickier construction tips so those of you who prefer photos to diagrams can have a better look (though perhaps choosing a black fabric with similar-looking right and wrong sides wasn’t the best idea, sorry!).
I’ll use the numbers from the steps in the Pdf pattern’s Sewing Instructions below so you can easily refer back. As usual, click any of these to view the larger versions.read more >>
Here’s the second of my recent lingerie sets I sewed while I’ve been ill, which I hope will inspire you! This purple set is again comprised of my (free!) Lacey Thong pattern and the (also free!) Ruby Slip pattern, shortened to camisole length.
I’m so pleased to finally break into the lace and materials I bought at Kantje Boord in Amsterdam when I was there running the marathon in October! I was very restrained in the shop, buying only this lace, the purple lycra remnant, and coordinating lime elastic and motif with this exact camisole in mind!
I’ve definitely got enough materials left (okay, I had to hit up Danglez.nl* for some more coordinating bra supplies!) to make a matching bra in the next week or two, so I might whip up another pair of panties to make this set a foursome like the black lingerie set too.
The only real difference between this set and the black one you saw earlier this week is that the body fabric used here is a lycra rather than a woven. The lace bodices are strikingly similar, even though the laces themselves are so different!read more >>
Wow, thank you so much for all your enthusiasm on the Lacey Thong pattern! It was downloaded nearly 200 times in the first 24 hours, and that’s without any promotion beyond your word of mouth!
I’m wondering who’s going to be the first to send me their finished panty photos, but in the meantime, I thought it might be inspiring to show you all two more lingerie sets I’ve made while I’ve been ill with shingles (and likely to continue to be ill for several more weeks, ugh).
You may think this lace looks familiar, and that’s because it’s the same lace I used a few weeks ago to make a bra and another thong panty, so now I’ve got a set of four to wear together (and have finally used up all 2 metres of the Gabi lace I’d bought!). This time I used a thin poly(?) black satin for the body of the cami and panties, and used a beige picot elastic on the panties instead of black, like I had in my earlier set.read more >>
I’m very excited to announce a special week here on FehrTrade – for the benefit of those of you reading this from RSS subscriptions and can’t see the site header…
Yes, an entire week devoted to sewing lingerie, and we’re going to start the week off with something very special indeed – a free downloadable sewing pattern for a pair of thong-style panties, with lace over the hips and a special diamond-inset at the front and back.
The pattern is for sizes S-XL with seam allowances included, and for those of you who hate downloadable patterns – there’s only 4 pages of pattern to print, and only one join to tape together! I’ve written out step-by-step directions with a few diagrams, but there will also be some construction photos later this week to help out those of you who prefer them.
(If you’d like to spread the word about this pattern, please link to this post and not directly to the pdf file! thanks!) read more >>
As I mentioned last week, I’ve been inspired by the Cloth Habit Bra Sew-Along to try my hand at sewing some bras again. I was fairly happy with the foam cup bra I made a while back, but I finally found some Marks & Spencer’s non-padded bras that I really like the fit of and I was encouraged by these that I could probably make my own that fit nicely, too.
In all my previous attempts I’d used KwikSew 3300 as my base pattern, but this time around, I wanted a fresh start, so I pulled out Elan 530 which I’d bought years ago and never sewn up. The seaming of the cups is different to the KwikSew and I thought that might make all the difference for me.
In the past, I’d been really frustrated because you can’t check the fit until you’d absolutely completed sewing the bra, wasting hours and materials if the fit was off, but the Sew-Along offered some really good advice in terms of making a muslin and exactly what was important and what could be left out. So here’s mine, with some fetching gingham ribbons for straps (and underwire channelling, ha).
I adapted the bridge (based on excellent instructions in Orange Lingerie‘s upcoming book!!), added 1.5cm to the band as it was too tight, and pinched a little out of the cups along the seam line before unpicking it all to reuse some of the parts in the finished bra.
For the finished bra, I used the “Gabi” lace from eLingeria that Katherine also used to make a lingerie set! (That lace also comes as a handy bra kit or panty kit if you’d rather buy it that way). I had to look up my order details, but I’d bought this lace last May, and paid only €9 for the 2 meters, which is fantastic value if you ask me!
I learned a lot about careful lace placement from my sewing of the Ruby Slips so I always take a photo of the pieces before I assemble, as for some reason I can get a better overall picture when looking at a photo than I do in real life.
At first I didn’t overlay the bottom cups with lace, but this looked a bit weird, so I added those. Even though it’s mostly black lace on the bottoms, it makes a world of difference and cut back on the shininess.
So for the finished bra, the cups have three layers each – the lace (which is pretty flimsy, and also stretches, which you don’t want in cups), a black nylon underlining layer (with the stretch running opposite to the lace), and the same black nylon as a lining.
From my previous bra making experience, I learned a nice trick to getting everything finished and lined nicely…read more >>
While our boat is in drydock for maintenance, we’re temporarily living on a very kind neighbour’s boat. Packing for a month (though possibly 2 weeks) was a challenge in itself, as you want to to give yourself choices (in clothing, entertainment, comforts, and cooking), but yet you’ve still got to physically move everything, so you don’t want to overpack, either.
I brought the bare minimum of sewing supplies, which for me means my JL Mini sewing machine, which is great for travel and beginners alike (speaking of, I have a friend who’s selling her identical red JL Mini as she’s upgraded to a fuller-featured machine. If anyone’s interested in buying it from her for £30, please leave a comment and I’ll put you in touch!).
I also brought a few patterns and the fabrics to go with them, and I set up a temporary sewing station in the bedroom we’re staying in:
I thought it was quite amusing that the only place in the boat that was suitable for sitting and sewing was a pretty dressing table, and my boudoir sewing station inspired me to start one of my transported projects last weekend – another Ruby Slip!
My first Ruby Slip was seafoam green with brick red lace and I loved it so much that I knew I’d be making another. If you missed the discussion then, Sherry offered a free pdf pattern and fantastic photo tutorials, which I highly recommend, even for beginners, as it’s beautiful and quite easy to sew (especially if you choose a thin cotton lawn).
To match my sewing station, I set up a pressing station in the kitchen, with a travel iron and mini ironing board which live on the boat.read more >>
The Ruby Slip is a free pdf pattern and comprehensive set of tutorials over at Pattern Scissors Cloth, and as soon as I saw it, I knew it was just the most perfect pattern ever for me and I had to sew it ASAP!
I had 2m of seafoam green silk in my stash that I’d bought at Bhopal Fabric on Brick Lane over the summer (at £6/m), so I took a swatch of that along with me to MacCulloch and Wallis just before Christmas to buy lace specifically for this. Their lace selection isn’t great, but I totally fell in love with this stretch lace, made up of seafoam green, grey, and brick-red flowers, and it was the required 18cm for the pattern. It was pretty eye wateringly-expensive at £14/m, but I ended up with a silk matching lingerie set for £40 exactly, so I think the economics of my decision were sound.
Sherry has done an incredible job going through all the ins and outs of lace cutting, bias silk sewing, how to do an FBA, etc, but I did get a surprise when I found that 18cm lace is not wide enough for the side front:
Since I went out and bought the lace specifically for this, I was a little annoyed, but I was also feeling flu-ish so I sat down with my copy of Bridal Couture and hand-pieced some lace from my scraps to make up the missing corner. It involved a ton of tiny hand stitches in both seafoam and brick to get everything to match seamlessly, but I’m pleased with the end result (she’s since posted some ways of dealing with narrow lace).
I also wanted to demonstrate how much you need to pay attention which cutting lace. I was paying heed to all of the scallops in order to get them in join up nicely at the seams, but I totally didn’t see that my motif was off at first. Happily, I had enough to re-cut that piece to have a nicer join over the seam (seen on the right).
Right, all that aside, and let’s see some finished photos! But, er, not modeled on me since there’s see-through lace and I’m not an exhibitionist. So you’ll just have to take my word that I squealed with delight when I first tried this on, because the fit is just perfect! The bias skirt really just hugs my curves without being tight, and everything just fits like it was meant to be. I made the “short” version, and the hem lies about 3-4 inches above the knee, which is perfect for me.read more >>
The number of posts I want to write is piling up at an alarming rate, and I have no time to do anything about it, what with work being crazy busy (I hate all of you who get tons of time off at Christmas – I only get 3 days off in total! And my days have mostly been solving one problem, and having five new problems pour in while I was fixing the one, then moving on to the next in a To-Do list which never, ever gets cleared.) and us spending all our weekends working on the boat (last weekend we spent 15 hours building the subfloor down there. No, don’t feel jealous – the boat blog is being neglected, too).
So rather than stress about the amount of things piling up, I’m going to present my pile to you in pictorial form.
This is what James’s desk looked like this morning. It’s supposed to be my temporary cutting table while we’re building in the hold. How can I possibly cut the bias Ruby Slip or Holly’s maxi-dress fabric on this?? I’m pretty sure Bosco isn’t responsible, though he does look a bit shifty there…
I sewed a little waistcoat for James’s nephew out of this Tardamask fabric on Spoonflower. It’s got hidden pockets inside! He’s 7, and the biggest Dr Who fan ever, so we’re excited to see his reaction on Christmas.
I think it was inevitable that I’d need a quick and fun distraction from all my pattern drafting and muslins, and nothing spells “quick” and “fun” like lingerie! Seriously, if you’ve never sewn lingerie, you won’t really understand the appeal, but playing with tiny bits of lace and trim is just so creative and rewarding, especially for ladies like me who really aren’t into embellishment elsewhere in their wardrobes.
Since it fit so well before, I used the same modified bra pattern from my purple hearts bra, though this time I used black, pushup foam cups and the black/brown Alice lingerie kit from The Sewing Chest.
The first step was to cover the cups with the rigid lace. The lace in the kit was 50cm long, with two scalloped edges, so I aligned a scalloped edge along the top of the cup, then pinned and smoothed and made a few needed pleats in order to get it looking nice. If the lace or covering material is stretchy, then you don’t need any pleats in it, but as mine was rigid, a few small pleats were necessary towards the bottom.
Then I did the same with the other cup, though I had to use the opposite scalloped edge so both cups were symmetrical. In bra making, symmetry is king!!
With a wide zigzag stitch, I basted the lace around all the edges and trimmed the excess. I actually went back later and added some stretched, narrow elastic on the inside of the top of the cups, but I’d recommend actually doing this, or applying FOE (foldover elastic) to the upper cup edge before stretching the lace over your cups to avoid a second line of zigzagging over the lace. Even if you think your cups are sturdy enough to not need the elastic, it really makes a difference in keeping the top of the cup close to your body and not getting any gaping.read more >>
Well, at the time, I said I’d definitely make a summery version, too, but then again, I often saw I’ll remake patterns and then I hardly ever do, so I can’t really blame you if you thought you’d never see this pattern again!
But you’d be wrong! This dress is just so stratospherically flattering and magical that I couldn’t resist making a summer version in pale pink and grey lace, even though it meant hours of hand basting the lace onto the knit during our French road trip. And then once I was home, fusing metres upon metres of vilene bias tape to the various curved seams so they wouldn’t ripple during wear.
All this before I even constructed a single seam, but you know what – it was totally worth it.read more >>
I started work on this lace skirt just before we left for France, when I was finally over my post-March wardrobe exhaustion and finally ready to get stuck in on some more complex and fiddly projects. So I got all the layers cut out and basted together before I left, so this I only had the fun stuff left to do last week! Hooray for me!
The luscious purple lace is all dark purple on one side, but with added chenille texture and lighter, printed flowers on the other side. It’s from Ditto fabrics, bought by Pip as part of my Christmas gift, and I made good use of my 1m!
Since it’s lace and more sheer than I’d like for a skirt, I underlined this with some fabric I bought on Karen’s big Walthamstow meetup – it’s a poly stretch woven, with a bengaline-feel on the light purple side, and a wine-coloured, satin reverse. The purple side matched my lace perfectly and the satin reverse just meant I didn’t have to line it because it’s already slippery inside! Score!
While the colour match isn’t perfect with either my bamboo tulip top or my purple boots, it was close enough for me to wear them together yesterday!read more >>
I’ve been super busy over the past week and weekend preparing for our upcoming road trip through France over the double bank holiday extravaganza*…
Making these packets really reminded me of all those sewing projects I prepped before I went into hospital!
- The silver sequin motif to hand sew onto the front neckline of my upcoming turquoise linen dress
- Allllllll the pieces of pink viscose jersey and grey stretch lace for the summer version of my Burda September cover dress to hand baste together (cutting out all these pieces in both fabrics took all weekend!)
- My Chinese-themed sewing tin (originally a gift from Cidell!)
- Some purple silk to patch the lining in my Patrones duffle coat (I blame the stupid crappy jeans rivets I used to use!)
In this design, you’re given the pattern pieces for a turtleneck top, where the front has been cut diagonally across the front. So if you’ve not got this issue of Patrones, just go and draw a curvy line across your favourite turtleneck pattern!
In the magazine photo, the sleeves and upper front piece are pleated and underlined, but I chose to overlay lace on mine instead. Patrones provide the pattern pieces for the post-pleated fabric (allowing you the fun of working out exactly how much fabric you’d need for whatever size pleats you choose!), so it was super simple to just use those finished pieces to cut out the lace overlays instead.
The plum fabric here is a gorgeous bamboo/lycra jersey that I bought from Ditto in Brighton last month, and it’s so unbelievably soft, and with a nice, beefy weight and good stretch. I loved Wazoodle’s bamboo years ago, but this stuff is even better as it’s thicker and doesn’t wrinkle anywhere near as readily. I am utterly in love with this fabric! I’ve got another of their bamboo/lycras in red and I’m itching to make something from that now, too. The green stretch lace I bought at Tissues Dreyfus in Paris last summer, and I love how the two together give a bit of an antique look….read more >>
After sewing through my two Ditto fabrics I received at Christmas in record time, I’ve gone and ended up with five new fabrics from them! A few Saturdays ago we drove down to Brighton (via Lewes) with friends so I had to stop in at their shop in the North Laines, and then last weekend Pip gave me two more fabrics for my Christmas pressie! Yay!
Here they are:
From L to R above:
- Mauve bamboo lycra jersey (2m at £9.99/m) – this coordinates nicely with my dark green stretch lace from Paris so I’m thinking I might use these for that Patrones pleated turtleneck…
- Dark grape lace (1m as a gift) – I’m feeling this is crying out to be a luxe skirt, but I need to find a good, beefy knit to underline it or it’d be very chilly indeed!
- Deep purple ex-Prada wool/poly sweater knit (2m at £8.99/m) – I’m thinking I’ll use this to make the cowl tunic from the Winter MyImage magazine after seeing GlobalMom’s version on PR.
- Grey ex-Versace wool/viscose rib knit (2m at £8.99/m) – James picked this out for some winter pyjama bottoms so he has some to wear that aren’t covered in Christmas Homer Simpson (poor man!)
- Cherry red bamboo lycra jersey (2m as a gift) – so many options for this, so the jury is still out.
It’s absolutely freezing in London and I really need more long-sleeved knits, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to use this pattern from KnipMode Dec 2005 with a yard of rose jersey from Fabric.com and some of my gorgeous cream stretch lace that I bought in Paris. Et voila! A raglan-look lacey long sleeved teeshirt (Lace but without the Brrrrrr!).
This is a really basic long-sleeved teeshirt pattern, but with lines drawn in from the neckline to the side seams on the front and back. I left off the weird cuffs (in fact, I just reused the sleeve from my drape-front dress because I’m lazy like that and don’t see the point in tracing an identical sleeve again!), and decided to create my own neck binding which I serged on and then coverstitched down.read more >>
Ahhhhh, Paris! We had a simply wonderful time in the City of Lights this weekend, cramming an entire holiday into a few short hours. We’ve both already been to Paris a few times, so we didn’t feel the need to do the touristy stuff all over again. This left us with an entire weekend to devote to eating and shopping, and socialising with our friends Sat and Sarah (who I’d not met before this weekend, but I now feel like we’ve been friends for years!). As is my habit when I go away, I went fabric shopping so I can now share those shops with you…
As Isabelle says in her guide to Paris fabric shops, the bulk of the fabric and notions shops are in Montmatre, so if you’re pressed for time, head directly to the Abbesses metro and head east (which, conveniently passes right by a branch of my favourite-ever perfume shop, too!). There are a few other fabric shops in the same area that I didn’t pop into, plus a giant notions shop with more buttons than you could possibly imagine, so Montmartre really is your one-stop-shop for fabric, lining, interfacing, zippers, trim – the lot! Everything in Paris shuts down on Sundays, but happily, nearly all of the fabric shops are open on Saturdays which is convenient if you’re only in town for a weekend like us!read more >>
When fellow blogger Sigrid visited me last May, she brought along a birthday gift for me – a fantastic lingerie kit from Kantje Boord (a big lingerie notions shop in Amsterdam), full of really cool goodies you only ever see on high-end RTW underwear. In fact, it was all so nice that I was hesitant to cut into it as my bra-making skills are not quite as polished as the rest of my sewing yet.
But Pattern Review are having their first-ever Lingerie sewing contest, so that gave me the impetus to cut into the kit!
I planned on making the same partial-band, underwired bra I’d sewn once before (twice if you count the muslin) with a few improvements, plus my TNT thong panty from KnipMode, and, as it turns out, I was able to squeeze a camisole out of the yardage included in the kit, too!
We’ll start with the largest item first, even though I made it last… This one was really easy – I started with a RTW knit vest (tank top if you’re American) that I really liked, laid it on my fabric and traced the front, then did the same with the back. read more >>
Wow, I’m really falling behind with my photos, it feels like so long ago that I finished all these lacy bits! But then again, I bought the brown and turquoise bra kit from eLingeria.de way back in January 2008 so I suppose a week or so isn’t much in the lifespan of this fabric!
The kits from eLingeria.de give you all the bits you need to make one bra and two panties – really soft, stretchy microfibre, stretch lace, elastic, bra straps, underwire channeling, hooks, and the strap loops and findings. The only thing I needed to buy extra were the underwires, since they’re so size-specific. I really enjoyed sewing these, and having the kit meant I didn’t have to gather all the materials in matching colours on my own, so I’m definitely going this route again. €20 for a matching lingerie set is a steal, even with the current exchange rate!read more >>
I’m making good progress on my tuxedo-y suit using my grandmother’s vintage Pendleton wool. I’ve done the single welt pockets (a first time for me!) and the construction of the jacket body, and I’m now working on the many collars and lapels. The placement of the welt pockets (which are hidden under a front flap) is way too high, though, and the pockets are too narrow to be useful, though – this is the second time I’ve had BWOF jacket pockets be waaaay too narrow for my hands to fit through, so I must remember that for next time.read more >>