Dye-IY & the Little White Project: The Final Chapter

Yes, it’s that time. It’s the last part of my Little White Project, in which I’ll show you yet another approach to dyeing a bra and panty (okay, thong), using the same bra pattern (Kwik-Sew 3300), (mostly) same materials as the original Little White Bra, and the same 3 dye colors. But this time, I’m going to do something completely different with the dyes!

Before I get to that, here’s a quick recap of the various dyeing processes already done in this series:

  1. Dyed a finished panty in a single dyebath (combining equal parts of all 3 dye colors);
  2. Ombré-dyed a finished thong with a single dye color;
  3. Ombré-dyed a finished bra with 3 separate colors.

    Little White Bra/Panty/Thong
    My first 3 Little White projects. Clockwise from lower left: Panty dyed in all 1 color (3 dye colors mixed together), bra ombré-dyed with 3 colors, and thong ombré-dyed in 1 color. But wait— there’s more!

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Underwear… Or Not to Wear?

Hand-made lingerie is a hot topic, no doubt about it. All over the world, bras and panties are being sewn, patterns are being tested and reviewed, advice is sought and given, and the results are being photographed, talked about, and blogged about. And yet I’ve seen very little mention of the actual wearing of our hand-made lingerie. (Maybe they really are unmentionables?) Yes, there is plenty of discussion of fit issues, sewing techniques, and pattern pros and cons, but what I mean is, are we really wearing the underwear we’re making? Or just making it?

Bra with coordinating panty
My second bra and panty set deserves a better fate than languishing in my lingerie drawer.

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Dye-IY: The Little White Panties That Were

Now that I’ve made my Little White Panty and Little White Thong, I can’t wait to try out some of my dyeing ideas! If you’ve seen the results of dyeing my Little White Bra, you’ll know I used a dip-dyeing technique, with several colors, to create its beautiful ombré finish. This time, I’m going to do something different: the panty will be immersion-dyed in a mix of colors, and I’m going to dip-dye the thong with just 1 dye color. The kicker: I’ll be using some of the same dye colors as for my LWB, so these panties should coordinate well with the bra (fingers crossed).

The LWP, Before & After
No, it’s not Jekyll and Hyde, The Underwear Edition. It’s my Little White Panty, before and after dyeing!

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Dye-IY: The Little White Panty Project

Remember my Little White Bra project, after it was dyed? Well, today is all about its coordinating Little White Panty! I’ll show you how I made it, along with a Little White Thong; in my next post, I’ll show you how I dyed them. (Teaser alert: I used 2 different techniques— but they both work with my ombré-dyed LWB!) And coming soon: I’ll show you 3 different ways to apply the same dye colors I used for all my Little White projects, so you can make a complete set of coordinating (not matchy-matchy) lingerie pieces!

Let’s start with the Little White Panty. You may recognize this pattern; it’s MakeBra’s DL21, the same one I used for my Ombré Panty. What a difference a fabric choice makes!

Before: Little White Panty
My Little White Panty was made with MakeBra’s DL21 pattern, with (as usual) some slight modifications. (Click the photo to go to this pattern on MakeBra’s site.)

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3 Things I’ve Learned from Sewing Bras

I’ve been sewing since I was 5 years old, and have been making most of my own clothes since my pre-teen days. I remember making iconic items like tie-back flutter-sleeved tunic tops and satin newsboy caps for my school friends by the time I was in fifth grade. (Don’t judge me— it was the ’70s.)

But regardless of all my sewing experience, I’ve found that there is always something more to learn. And my recent venture into the previously unknown-to-me sewing territory of bra-making is proving to be no exception.

The making of a bra
I’ve learned a lot of new things about sewing since starting to make my own bras!

Here are 3 things I’ve learned from sewing bras.Read More »

Dye-IY: A Lesson on Dyeing

DANGER: Crash course ahead! Be advised that reading this post involves a distinct risk of dyeing. Color-mixing may be addictive, ombré effects can become an obsession, and friends may beg you to dye for them. Before proceeding through the following, ask yourself if you can handle the risks. Then ask your blogger if dyeing is right for you.

I’ve done several posts that at least touched on dyeing various bra parts, plus my most recent project, ombré-dyeing an entire bra. So I’ve decided it’s about time I included a few tips on the art of dyeing gracefully.

Materials before dyeing
Want to learn how to go from this…

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Dye-IY, Part 2: The Little White Bra that Was

If you’ve been following my first Little White Bra project, you’re probably waiting in breathless anticipation for the dyed version I promised you— and now it’s here! I’ll show you my process for ombré-dyeing this bra, and I’ll even clue you in to how I dealt with that pesky non-dyeing white sewing thread!

But first, here’s the Before version, a.k.a. The Little White Bra:

The Little White Bra
Before: The Little White Bra. WARNING: Dramatic After shot coming up!

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The Making of The Little White Bra

My last post was an introduction of sorts to my current project: The Little White Bra, a.k.a. The Bra Before Dyeing (or just “Before”). Now, since this was the first time I’ve used this bra pattern, I’ll show you how I made it, including a few changes I made.

My pattern is Kwik-Sew 3300— I’m being adventurous and trying my first partial-band bra! For those of you who might not know the difference (and I’m not sure I noticed it myself before I started making bras), partial-band just means that, rather than a continuous band running all the way around the bra, including under the cups, the band comes around from the back to attach to the sides of the cups only, with a small bridge piece connecting the cups in the middle, like so:

Kwik-Sew 3300 bra pattern
The Little White Bra I just made, using Kwik-Sew 3300, View A with the lace upper cups and bridge. (Click the photo to see this pattern on Kwik-Sew’s site; right now it says it’s temporarily out of stock. Boo.)

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Dye-IY: Start with The Little White Bra

So there I was, debating over new bra patterns/fabrics/colors to try, and I had this idea…

What if I made an all-white bra that was meant to be dyed? That is, rather than dyeing the materials first, then cutting and sewing, maybe I could make the bra, then dye it. Ultimately, I want to be applying my original color palettes (and their corresponding dye recipes) to my lingerie pieces, just as I’m already doing with my yarns, so this seems like a good plan.

The Little White Bra
Oh, the dilemma… To dye or not to dye?

Advantages to this approach:

  • It’s fairly easy to find all necessary bra-making materials in white.
  • I wouldn’t waste dye on materials that would end up in the scrap heap after cutting my bra pieces out.
  • I could take my time deciding what color I wanted my bra to be.
  • Or heck, I could just decide to leave it white! I was severely tempted by this thought when I was finished making this bra. And I’m pretty sure Vogue advises every woman to own at least one Little White Bra, right?

Disadvantages:

  • I have to think and plan very carefully about the materials I use; everything from the lace and elastic trims to the strap rings and sliders needs to be compatible with the type of dye I want to use. And speaking of which…
  • As a wise person on the Facebook Bra Making Forum* pointed out, don’t forget about the thread! If I’m going to use the usual polyester sewing thread, it won’t be dyeable with either the acid or RIT types of dyes. Meaning my bra will be dyed, but the thread will stay white. Probably not the look I’m going for.
  • It can be a little tricky maneuvering the bra around while dyeing, especially with the underwired parts being stiff and generally getting in the way. (This was mainly a problem for me because I decided to ombré-dye my bra, so it had to be dipped repeatedly into various dye baths; it shouldn’t be an issue if you’re dunking the whole bra into the dye at once. Just make sure the container you’re dyeing in is large enough.)
  • Unless you’re extremely lucky, it’s unlikely that all materials will dye evenly to the exact same shade, even if they’re all the same fiber. I happen to like that, but you may not.

Tip: Crash course in dye types and what they’re used for: Acid dyes (the kind I use most frequently for my yarns) work on animal fibers like wool, mohair, and silk, and also on nylon (very important to lingerie makers). Fiber-reactive dyes are used for plant fibers, such as cotton, linen, and rayon. RIT dyes are what’s known as the union-type dye, meaning they’re a combination of acid and fiber-reactive dyes, so they can be used on any natural fiber, including combinations of animal and plant fibers. I use RIT dyes most frequently for panties, since I usually make them with cotton crotch linings.


Next up: I’ll show you the making of this Little White Bra, including some minor pattern changes I made along the way. And it’ll have a link to kits to make your very own LWB!

And coming soon after that: I’ll take you through my process for ombré-dyeing this bra, including how I got around the non-dyeing-white-thread thing, plus posts on making (and dyeing) a Little White Panty!


*This is a closed group on Facebook, so if you’d like to join it (and it’s fabulous), please contact me (Lindy Thibodaux on FB) with your FB name, and I’ll send you an invitation to the group.


Resources for this post:

The bra pattern I used is Kwik-Sew 3300; right now, this page says it’s “temporarily out of stock”. Let’s hope they bring it back soon!

FLASH: A Versatile New Bra Pattern from Orange Lingerie!

Hot off my e-mail inbox this morning: Orange Lingerie has released its second bra pattern!

Meet the Boylston Bra:

  • PDF sewing pattern for an underwire bra by Orange Lingerie - Boylston Bra

(Illustration/design courtesy of Orange Lingerie. Click on the image to go straight to this pattern listing in the Orange Lingerie Etsy shop!)

In case this illustration isn’t enough inspiration, in the Etsy listing for this new pattern, you’ll also find a photo of a beautiful bra made from this pattern, in a lovely floral print; this photo makes it clear that this is a balconette style. And the description says (in part) that the Boylston Bra can be lined with cut-and-sew foam, among several possibilities. It really does sound versatile!

As you know, I’ve already made my first and second bras with Orange Lingerie’s Marlborough Bra pattern, so I can say with confidence that the pattern and instructions are professionally designed and executed— not to mention that the style and cut are just beautiful, and I already know the sizing works for me (I’m usually a 36DD, but according to this pattern’s sizing, I used the 40DD pattern, which is virtually perfect). And I love the new balconette style of the Boylston, so I’ll be showing you what I make with this pattern very soon!