Guess Who’s Featured in Seamwork Magazine!

Big news: I’m one of three bra-making experts featured in a hot-off-the-digital-press article in Seamwork Magazine!

With insights from UK pattern designer Zoe Edwards, Amy Chapman (of Cloth Habit fame), and me, writer Jessica Yen focuses on making lingerie from scraps of fabric— something I love to do!* Included are tips on everything from choosing patterns strategically to make the most of irregularly-shaped scraps to my own ideas for working with color palettes.

The making of a bra
Wow, am I glad I obsessively save my scraps of beautiful silks and laces! They’re perfect for repurposing into custom lingerie. (Click the photo to go to my first post in the series on making this bra and a coordinating panty.)

I’d love it if you would visit Seamwork Magazine and read this article, along with the rest of February’s issue, which focuses entirely on intimates. And tell me what you think! Oh, and I’d be interested to hear about your own experiences with sewing lingerie from fabric scraps.

*See my posts on the second bra and panty I made (bra pictured above) for loads of details and tutorials.


The blatant self-promotional part: Want to see my own DIY lingerie sewing kits? I design and produce them for Colormusing, and many feature materials and trims I’ve dyed myself; all include links to blog posts I’ve written with details and tutorials specific to each kit.

And while you’re visiting Colormusing, be sure to sign up to receive Hue News, CM’s free monthly e-mail newsletter, including discount coupon codes you’ll only find in Hue News!

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Shades of Excitement: An Ombré Panty!

This project really is exciting— a gorgeous, reversible fabric that’s solid blue on one side, and black-to-blue ombré on the other, a new panty pattern, and it’s going to match my ombré foam-lined bra that I just finished!

Let’s get right to it! First, here’s a look at the fabric, a 95% nylon/5% Spandex matte jersey.

ombré fabric
My beautiful ombré matte jersey. Yes, it’s reversible— it’s solid blue on one side, ombré on the other!

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My Third Bra, Part 3: Making a Coordinating Bikini Panty

Now that I’m finished making my third bra, I wanted to do a quick follow-up about the bikini panty I made to go with it. I’ve used the same pattern as for my thong, Kwik-Sew 3881, which includes a total of 4 styles; hipsters and briefs are the other two.

After making some fairly substantial changes in the bra pattern, I’ve decided (for once) to keep this panty simple: just coral poly/Spandex (the same fabric I used for the bra cups) and foldover elastic. Oh, and I saved one of the little flower thingies to use as an embellishment!

Panty materials
What I’m using to make the panty that will coordinate with my third bra. 1. 1 3/8″-wide foldover elastic (for waistband). 2. Poly/Spandex fabric. 3. 5/8″-wide foldover elastic (for legs). 4. Cotton knit (for crotch lining). 5. Flower embellishment. And Kwik-Sew 3881, View B (bikini).

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My Third Bra: Something Completely Different

After making both my first bra and the second with the same pattern (the Marlborough Bra from Orange Lingerie), and making them both mostly out of silk, I’ve started to feel the urge to try something different. Completely different.

Here’s what I have in mind:

1. Instead of making the bra first, then trying to find stretch panty materials to coordinate, I’m going to pick my panty fabric first, then use that for the bra as well. This will mean using (gasp!) a stretch fabric for the bra, rather than woven.

Coral jersey fabric
Here’s the main fabric I’ve chosen for my new bra: a slinky, stretchy poly/Spandex jersey in a beautiful shade of deep coral pink. At left is narrow satin tubing destined for a bra strap idea I have, and at right is embroidered tulle I’d like to use, well, somewhere. These 3 materials form the starting point for my tonal color palette of coral, fuchsia, magenta, and rose-red.

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It’s a Thong Story… And Now It’s Done

After doing all my thong pattern modifications and getting the fabric and lace pieces cut and ready, I’m so excited to actually sew it together! I have a feeling this part will go faster. You know that saying, “Measure twice, cut once”? I think that applies perfectly to sewing projects— taking the time to prepare the patterns and fabric pieces maybe won’t guarantee a perfect result, but it does give you a heck of a head start.

Here’s where I left my thong:

Final mock-up of thong
All mocked-up and ready to sew!

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Final mock-up of thong

It’s a Thong Story…

I’ve now made 2 versions of Ohhh Lulu’s Betty High-waisted Panty pattern, including this lace-overlay beauty, and I’m ready to try something new! The other day, I fished a lace thong out of my panty drawer (okay, it’s more like a bin), and it occurred to me to try modifying a thong pattern to make something similar. In this post, I’ll show you how I made the modifications, and get my pieces cut; next time, I’ll sew my thong together!

Here’s the pattern I’m starting with, Kwik-Sew 3881, which includes patterns for several basic panty styles:

Kwik-Sew 3881 panty pattern
Here’s the panty pattern I’m starting with; I’ll be modifying the thong (View D). Click the photo to view this pattern on Kwik-Sew’s website.

My idea is to replace the upper edge of the thong with wide stretch lace. Here’s the plan:Read More »

My Second Bra, Part 5: Making a Coordinating High-waisted Panty

My daughter came back from several years in Paris with the firm conviction that every bra should have at least one matching panty. And that every piece of lingerie should be the best quality you can afford. It took a little convincing, but now I quite agree with her. And I must say that, even in the short time I’ve been making my own under-goodies, I’ve noticed that there’s something about setting a matching panty down next to a bra that seems to make the bra look even better. Especially a beautiful, unique, hand-made bra!

So today I’ll show you the steps that go into making a color-blocked, high-waisted panty; I’m planning this to coordinate with my newly-finished second bra. I’ll be using my OhhhLulu Betty High-waisted Panty pattern (the same one I used when I made my first bra and panty).

Here’s my second bra, with some materials I pulled out to see if they’d coordinate:

Materials for panty
The materials I’ve chosen to make my high-waisted panty. 1. Turquoise hand-dyed nylon/Spandex. 2. Black elastic trim (the same used on the bra). 3. Black all-over stretch lace fabric.

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All the Pretty Pieces, Postscript: Dyed to Match

Yesterday, I dyed some bra notions (plus possible panty fabrics) in various shades of blue and green, to coordinate with the printed silk I’d chosen for my second bra project. Personally, I think that using this related-but-not-necessarily-matching approach really helps all the colors blend with the sort of watercolor-y abstractness of the print:

Dyed pieces with print fabric
Using several shades of blue and green helps all these parts blend with the print of my silk fabric (1). 2. Stretch lace fabric. 3. Bra straps. 4. Channeling. 5. Back closure. 6. Panty Spandex.

If I’d chosen just one solid color for the coordinating bits, I would have had to work harder at making that color “match” one color in the print.

And then I got to thinking…Read More »

All the Pretty Pieces: Dyeing to Match (or Not)

At this point in my second bra project, I’ve chosen my pattern and assembled fabrics from my scrap stash, incidentally creating a color palette in the process.

Materials for my second bra
The main elements going into my second bra: 1. Sheer silk print, to be layered over 2. Silk snakeskin print (the same fabric I used for my first bra!). 3. Black stretch lace fabric, to be layered over 4. Bamboo/spandex for coordinating panty. 5. Black picot-edge elastic trim for both bra and panty.

Now I just need to add the remaining bits and pieces that go into making a bra: channeling (this is what houses the underwires), strap material, elastic trim (for both bra and panty), powernet fabric (for the back band), and the back closure for the bra.

And here is where I come crashing right up against the dreaded, frustrating, tear-my-hair-out question:Read More »

My Second Bra, Part 2: Materials from the Scrap Stash

Now I’ve chosen my pattern, made a few minor alterations to it, and organized the pattern elements. With the goal of making as much of this bra as possible with materials I already have on hand, I’m anxious to pick my main fabrics. Off to my scrap stash!


 

Tip: Be sure to read through your bra pattern’s instructions before even thinking about fabrics. In my case, my pattern specifies fabrics with no stretch for every part except the back bands, which use powernet. But some of the patterns I’ve looked at, especially the bralette and some foam-lined styles, call for fabrics with stretch. My pattern also calls for non-stretch lace for the upper part of the cups.


My scrap stash
Quite an impressive pile, isn’t it? Out of my total stash, I pulled just silk and lace fabrics; the silks range from chiffon and georgette to crepe de chine, charmeuse, twill, and brocade. Some of these will hopefully become the main ingredients in my new lingerie wardrobe!

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