My very first Lingerie and Bra Making Course starts this week, and I have been extensively trawling through the Patterns, advice, Fabrics and (my favorite bit!) the Notions available out there so I thought this weeks Pattern Ponderings should be a Lingerie Edition!
First up, if you can’t make my Class- it’s sold out, yippee!!- there will be another in the Fall. There is also a tonne of information out there and Patterns available to help you create that perfect Bra if this is what you have been dreaming of…
First up is Elna 645.
This is the first non-self drafted Bra Pattern I ever used and it’s fantastic. The instructions are super clear, seam allowances are included and there’s quite a lot of information at the front with tips like why you should trace the Pattern off. I am on to my 2nd Bra with this Pattern- after some adjustments- and very happy indeed. It’s a great starter Pattern as it includes a little of everything and you can choose to sew it up in stretch or non-stretch.
Included in this list simply because of the stunningly good work Amy has done with her Sew-Along to accompany the release of the Bra set. I have not made my Watson up yet however; there have been 100s’ of glowing reviews and I would strongly recommend a read through of the Sew-Along if you are considering making your own Lingerie. Also, how much do we all want a Yellow and White Bra set right now? Heaven!
I adore the Vintage glamour of Ohhh Lulu Patterns, there’s something very unusual and extremely pretty about them isn’t there? They do come up a little small however; she has a series of Tutorials one of which tells you how to increase the cup size of a Bra Pattern. In fact, it is well worth a visit to her Tutorials page which includes a couple Sew-Alongs, how to add in Padding, making a boned bikini, how to measure yourself and quite a bit more! Take a good look around her shop too as there’s Swimwear and Panties Patterns as well as Pattern Sewing Bundles.
There are so many more out there including Mrs Depew, VaVoom Vintage for the Vintage lovers, Orange Lingerie who also have a Blog and Madalynne who both have Sewing tips and Sew-Alongs for more modern Bra Patterns.
Right, I’m off for some more lesson prep- I’m making my next Bra in Black with Pink Lace! What was I thinking?! Can’t wait to show it off…
Well, boys and girls, this week on the Midnight Atelier Chalkboard is information about our up-coming Vintage Lingerie Classes, Vintage Bra Making Classes, the Eventide Corsetry Course and Sewing Club dates!
As you can see, all courses include Pattern (with the Eventide Corsetry Course you receive the Pattern and Instruction book), and they are all booking now!
Check out the Class Schedule Page for more information, and to book. If you would like to pay a deposit, and the balance later please email me on email@example.com
I have finally had time to completely review my Bra Making knowledge, the rather helpful advice over at Cloth Habit, buy some equipment and generally take stock to move forward with this project. Why is this so daunting?! I have attempted bras’ before, I am constantly making other pieces of lingerie, and with over 20 years of sewing experience I should not be this afraid! Man up, Laura!!
As I think I have mentioned before, instead of drafting a pattern myself, this time I have opted for a store bought Pattern (Elna No.645), and I have to say it has proved annoyingly easy to make up… annoying because now I feel even more of a light weight for not manning up sooner!! I shall be drafting my own Pattern as soon as I am happy with my construction abilities however; I have actually already been drafting Bra Patterns all day with a Private Student! We have been happily drafting, designing and demystifying Bras all day before she embarks upon a Lingerie Intern Ship (if you are interested in Private Tutoring contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org). Our next lesson is on Friday but, despite finishing up at about 7pm, I couldn’t quite leave it and I have been happily engrossed in Bra making ever since, so I thought I’d share my progress!!
I have decided for the first attempt to make up the size of Bra my measurements dictate, completely and with no fitting. I wanted to make a Bra from start to finish, without hesitation, so as to consolidate all of this fact finding, previous experience and current insights I have been building up. Having a stash of great fabric helped as I was able to choose a delightful Shell Pink Silk which, even if the final Bra doesn’t fit, will look stunning when finished and completely spur me on to further creations! I can then use it to draft a newer version of the Pattern, with fitting adjustments to make up.
I traced off the Elna pattern, as instructed, so that any changes I make to personal fit will not mean I can’t use the Pattern again. The pattern includes sizes from 32A through to 42D, so hunting the pieces out was the first challenge!
Tracing off a Pattern is a useful thing to do, it completely familiarizes you with all of the Pattern pieces, any notches or markings, helps you consider grain lines as well as conserving the original.
After cutting out, the first thing to do was to neaten the top of the Top Cup. Using a little trick I learnt from Cloth Habit, I used a strip of light weight Fusible Interfacing. Sewn non-iron side down, the seam is then trimmed back (to reduce bulk), the Fusible Interfacing is then rolled over to the back and ironed down. To assist me in this I pinned the piece in place to the ironing board, then ironed. This is a simple, yet effective trick which stops those little finger burns!!
This means that, from the front, no seam or neatening is visible! Marvellous!!
Now, I wanted to get a little jazzy with this Bra, simply because I want to learn as much as possible from this make. So, to the Lace shelf in the Midnight Workroom! Yes… … I have a Lace shelf, and it is varied and many coloured! I waited until I had neatened the top edge of the Top Cup, so that I could mount the lace without worrying about judging the Seam Allowance. Clever, no?
Despite thinking I would like to have the scallops of the lace peeping out over the top of the Cups, I preferred this way, showing a little of the Shell Pink Silk. To attach the Lace to the Silk, I set my Sewing Machine to a narrow, small Zig-Zag Stitch and in key places- mainly the very top of the Scallops- made a couple of stitches on the spot. This method sinks nicely into the background of the Lace, but doesn’t stitch the Lace directly to the Silk. I am not too sure, but I didn’t want to stitch the Lace completely down because the Lace and Silk may want to move separately from the Silk when I am wearing the Bra.
Matching all of my notches religiously the next job was to sew the Top Cup to the Bottom Cup. Pinning carefully, and very slowly with the edge of the fabric in the air despite the extreme curve this was completely manageable. Bra Seams are only 6mm, which allows for extreme precision, and I am finding having a smaller Seam Allowance is extremely beneficial when sewing such tight curves.
I then attached the Back Band, and inserted the Cups in to the Bridge and voilà! Here is my Bra so far… …
I am super pleased with the result so far. In trying it on- not very accurately without straps!- I can already see that the cups will need to be re-shaped and possibly the Side Seam too however; as an exercise in Bra Making this has been extremely informative. It is nice to finally put all of my information I have gathered and previous knowledge to good use!
Because I have chosen to make a Fabric Bra, the Back is Lace only, which has some stretch to allow for movement when wearing. Tomorrow I shall be purchasing the elastics and straps needed to finish the Bra, and I literally can’t wait!
Look at these gorgeous creations from one of my favourite Lingerie companies, Buttress & Snatch… …
This is what I aspire to!