Class Report Card: Lingerie and Bra Making Class

I thought I’d share a couple pictures from last nights inaugural Bra and Lingerie Class, which was sheer raucous fun!

I have only ever taught Bra and Lingerie making as a 1:1 Lesson, so this was a first for me however; I think I had done so much planning and prep work (almost too much- I kept mixing up the names of things from the U.K. English to the American, doh!) that I needn’t have worried.

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First up, tracing the Patterns! Never cut you Lingerie Patterns, you’ll always need to fit and could need the next size up and then where would you be? It’s tedious but means you’ll be fine whatever the outcome.

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Then the best bit- choosing fabric and cutting out!

I decided to be quite mean, but I have my reasons… everyone is making their trial or Bra Toile from White fabric, with contrast stitching. The reason is we can then see what’s going on, where the stitching is and what might be wrong or right about it and fitting will be easy as we can mark the white fabric easily with Tailors Chalk.

I had provided a selection of fabrics and Bras are going to be made from Cotton Lawn and Polk Dot Stretch Net, Jersey and Stretch Net or Lace and finally Power Net and Stretch Lace (which we all agreed might very well be the hardest combination).

To show solidarity- and what the next step will be- I have made up my own Bra in White with contrast Electric Blue stitching!

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I actually think it looks super pretty, and I might have finally ironed out my fitting issues with however; I shall have to await the HUGE order I have placed with Vena Cava for the Under Wires to actually find out.

Don’t worry though, in a couple of weeks they’ll be making their final Bra’s out of their own selection of fabric and I am sure the cutting tables and sewing machines at The Midnight Atelier will be a swirl of colour.

Thinking about making your own Lingerie? there are some Pattern and Sew-Along suggestions here.

Happy stitching!

Pattern Ponderings: Lingerie Edition!

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.

The Watson Bra and Bikini Knickers.

Watson Bra & Bikini PatternWatson Bra & Bikini PatternWatson Bra & Bikini Pattern

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!

Ohhh Lulu

Vintage Style Pin Up Bra Sewing Pattern Ohhh Lulu 1311 Lili Bralette Sewing Pattern Bra Sewing Pattern Ohhh Lulu 1304 Jasmine Soft Bra Multi-size Digital PDF Vintage Style Bra Sewing Pattern Ohhh Lulu 1301 Bambi Soft Bra Multi-size Digital PDF Sewing Pattern

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…

Happy stitching!

New Sewing Courses!

Phew! I have just finished updating the Class Schedule, and I have to say I am mighty proud of this one!

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There’re Classes for beginners and more advanced Sewers alike, and I have tried to plan in fun projects like the Playsuit Course or Beginners Dressmaking Course which both have three different Patterns to choose from (and they’re all great, I promise!), as well as Project Days including an Introduction to Patchwork Day and the completely awesome and fun T-Shirt Project Day.

You guys who have already been stitching up a storm are also catered for and can choose from the Sew Anything Course– which starts soon!- as well as Lingerie, Corset and Vintage Pattern Courses. I’m almost envious, but I get to be there too, yay!

I also have a Social Media Training for Small Businesses Seminar which I am completely thrilled to be offering. I seem to spend a lot of time spouting off about how important SEO is, why I try to maintain an Editorial Calendar and why everyone with a Small Business should Blog in the first place, as well as blithering on about Internet Marketing and all the many minutiae of running a Small Business in this wondrous Internet age that I thought I would  share all of the bits and bobs I have learnt over the years to help y’all out!

Click here for more information but loosely this seminar will feature group discussion and worksheets plus handouts for future reference and is the perfect next step for your Small Business as you build your Brand and start to create more business through your website, shop and in person! It’s going to be such fun guys, I’m hopping with excitement!!

Places are limited by space so I’d book quick for all of the Courses and Classes.

Happy stitching!

Simple Pattern Drafting: Pyjamas!!

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Who wouldn’t want a gorgeous, hand made pair of Pajamas? Over the years I have whipped up a few pairs to give as gifts, so I thought I’d share how to make them up Pajamas, without having to buy a Pattern!

I have sorted out the following, super simple printables’ for you all to follow, which illustrate how to make up your own pattern (from just two simple measurements!), how to cut them out and then full instructions at the bottom to sew the Pajamas up… all you really need to worry about is which fabric you’re going to choose first!!

If this is your first foray in to Pattern Cutting take a peek at Pattern Month. You may want to load up on some basic supplies too like a Meter Ruler or Pattern Master and some Pattern Paper however; you can make do with Baking Paper and a Tape Measure just as well too!

Click on the images to enlarge, and print.

Easy Pattern DraftingPyjamas

Pyjama Pattern Page 2

Pyjama Instruction Sheet

Wasn’t so difficult was it?! I like to simply buy nice, plain t-shirts, tank tops and lacy vests to match the fabrics I have chosen to serve as Pajama tops, which can be great fun if you are making for someone else!!

For all my old school followers the conversion of inches to centimeters is 1″:2.5cm, but there is a handy conversion calculator here.

When choosing fabric for your Pajamas, remember that they should be soft and lovely so fabrics like Cotton Flannel, Brushed Cotton and Winceyette are perfect, as are printed cottons. Anything silkier or satin-y can prove a little too static inducing for my liking, and fleece a little heavy and hot. Why not have a trawl through the wonderful world of Spoonflower for something truly unique… or even design your own?!

Don’t forget to share your makes with me over on Facebook!

Happy stitching!

Bramaking extravaganza!!

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 laura@lauraaftermidnight.com). 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!

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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.

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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!!

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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?

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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.

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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… …

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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… …

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This is what I aspire to!

Happy stitching!

Pattern Month on Pinterest

For an awesome selection of Vintage, modern, free and many more Patterns please take a look at Pattern Month on Pinterest. I’ve also made sure there are a great little selection of tutorials on how to re-size Patterns and how to deal with PDF printable Patterns. These are my favourites…

Panelled Slip Draft Pattern from Complete Dressmaking in pictures published by Odhams. 1950       Overalls

A 50s Slip, complete with Pattern information and advice, and 1940s Overalls complete with Pattern. If you know how to scale Patterns up- which there will be a post on in the near future- the Pattern world really is at your feet. I just adore those Overalls!

Lots of skirt block modifications

Have you tried making up your Basic Skirt Block yet? If so, why not trace the Block off and try splitting it as above for some truly gorgeous skirts!

There are further Patterns on the Pinterest page, scaling advice, hints and tips so be sure to check it out!

Happy patterning!