Sew a Lace Robe

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I’m so excited to be writing here on the Sewcialist blog today!  If you don’t know me, I’m Elizabeth from Elizabeth Made This.  I live in Colorado with my family of men and I sew every spare minute that I have.  Today I’m sharing a tutorial for a quick and easy lace robe.  If there’s one piece of “lingerie” that I can’t be without, it’s a robe. I’m always cold in the mornings even if it’s blazing hot outside and a robe is a great wardrobe piece to keep me warm before I drink my first cup of tea for the day.

This time of year, warmth isn’t as essential as it is during the winter months, so I’ve been kicking around the idea of a lighter, more summer weight robe to start the mornings.  Lace seemed to be the perfect fabric for just this.

lacerobeF Continue reading

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Bra-Making Favourites: Cut and Sew Foam & and Fold Over Elastic!

Hi All! I’m Erin, or Emerald Erin, you might know me from my blog The Sewing and Life Adventures of Emerald Erin! I’m mostly a bra-maker or swimsuit sewist- but I like to dabble in lots of creative endeavours! You also might know me from my Bra-A-Week Challenge– where I sew a bra or swimsuit every week and post it on Sundays along with all of your lovely bra submissions! I’m also a full-time blogger, custom bra/swimwear maker, sewing instructor and pattern designer who is in the middle of launching a business!

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I’m so excited to be here doing a guest post for Lingerie sewing month- especially since every month for me is lingerie sewing month! And I thought that I would share two of my favourite bra-making materials and how I like to sew them! First I’m going to start with cut & sew foam, also known as pre-finished foam padding, or polylaminate foam padding.

IMG_2213 If you’ve already worked with this foam then you’ll know that it is lovely! And it gives you the coverage and support of foam, but in your unique shape- unlike the molded foam cups! I’m going to show you how I like to sew it on this sample cup- remembering to cut out your pattern without the interior seam allowances- since you are going to butt your fabric together and sew it.

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Now this is my favourite way to sew seams in cut & sew foam. I like to use a ‘satin stitch’ because I find that it is the nicest and strongest finish.  And on my machine that is a simple zig-zag stitch with a 4 width and 0.5 stitch length. With that stitch I butt my pieces together and stitch them together.

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When you’re sewing them together, you’ll notice that this stitch almost squeezes your fabric together nice and tight- making it look like there isn’t a cut in the fabric in between. This stitch can take a little practice, and you want to make sure that you don’t have too heavy of pressure from your foot and your feed-dogs are moving the fabric through nicely to prevent any stretching in the seam- which you don’t want! Sometime it can even help to push it through a little bit. Now the alternatives that I’ve seen to this stitch are a regular length zig-zag (this sample one is 3 width by 3 length on my machine) or a 3 step zig-zag (this sample on is 4 width by 1.5 length on my machine). What I notice is that these stitches tend to leave more dimples and unevenness that will show through your outer fabric, rather than the satin stitch which looks a lot more even.

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The other important par is the strength- when you pull on all the seams, the regular and 3 step zig-zags tend to pull apart and make gaps, and the satin stitch stays strong and together!

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So here you can see an example of a cup that I’ve made up with the satin stitch, and how smooth it is around the curves!

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It really makes for a nice cup! All of my every-day bras are made with this foam and this stitch and I find that it wears wonderfully and is nice and smooth and soft against the skin!

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Now on to my second favourite bra-making material which is fold over elastic! or FOE for short!

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There are lots of different types of fold over elastic that you can get- different widths, shiny sides, matte sides, picot edge, pre-folded, flat. like working with this flat 3/8″ fold over elastic (3/8″ when folded) and I prefer the matte side to the shiny side. I like to sew on my fold over twice, because I’m not very good at keeping it sandwiched around my fabric, and I find that it’s easier and quicker to sew it on twice! For this I like to use a very small zig-zag stitch, which on my machine is a 1 length by 1 width (I have a thing about same length/width zig zags lol).

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I start with the wrong side of the fabric facing up and I line up the centre of the fold over (you can usually see the line where the centre break is) just on the outside of the edge of your fabric. Once you get sewing you can check to make sure it’s in the right place by lifting it up and lining it up just off the edge. You can also pin this if you like- but I find it just as easy to manoeuvre it as I go. Also I don’t like to pull on my elastic as I go- just keep it finger tight- so it’s not completely slack, but just a slight hint of tension.

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I sew right on the edge of the fold over- being careful to stay on the fold over and not go over the edge into your fabric- because you’ll see that from the front if you do!  Then when you flip it over to the right side of your fabric you’ll see your stitching through- which is a good guide to follow when you stitch down your other side.

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You’ll also notice that you can see that centre break of your fold over elastic right over the top edge of your fabric- which means that when you fold it over it will be right where you intended your fabric edge to be- no taller, no shorter! If you’re working with foam, like I am in the example I would recommend trimming some on the fabric above your seam to reduce bulk- you won’t have to do this if you’re using a really light or lacy fabric.

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Then all you have to do is fold your elastic over where it naturally wants to fold along the centre line, you can pin it if you like, or not if you’re comfortable doing it with no pins. But the important thing is that you use your stitches from the other side as a guide and that you make sure to cover them with the elastic on the right side. Then you’re going to do the same stitch and sew right over top of your old stitching on the edge of your elastic. And voila!!

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You have a beautifully finished edge with very minimal bulk! On the front it will have a single line of small stitching and on the back it will have an overlapping double line. And I find with this zig-zag that it has enough stretchability that I’ve never had it pop before. Here are some example of my foam and fold over projects- you can see it’s definitely a fav!

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This is a perfect example of the cut and sew foam cup with a satin-stitch and nice fold over elastic on the top- and you can see how it all just blends beautifully with matching threads! This is my bra from Week 8!

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This is an example of a fold over project that I did with a double strap- where I used fold over for the neckline edge and the underarm edge on a bralette and continued it up to straps. To make it a little more supportive I added some non-stretch ribbon on the inside of these straps and that added some good stability. This is my bralette from Week 9! I also use a similar technique with fold over binding- that I like to use for contrasting edges on my swimwear!

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The possibilities with this are really endless and I keep finding new ways to apply it. This is my swimsuit from Week 18! Do you like working with cut&sew foam or fold over elastic? What are your favourite bra making materials? Also don’t forget to come over and check out my blog! I’ve got lots of fun things going on right now! You can join the Bra-A-Week challenge and be inspired by all the other lovely submissions! Or you can follow me on my bra and swimwear adventures!  I’ve recently gone into the bra and swimwear business full time! So you can join me as set up my new studio, launch my online store and figure out my creative business! Yay! Hope to see you over there!

xo erin

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A Vintage Silk Slip (Simplicity 4218 by allie J.)

Simplicity 4218 | allie J. | alliemjackson.com

Hello, Sewcialists! I’m Allie and I typically post my vintage creations over at allie J. When I heard the theme this month was lingerie, I thought it would be the perfect time to peek into a vintage slip pattern I purchased a little while ago, but hadn’t gotten around to creating.

Simplicity 4218 | allie J. | alliemjackson.com

This slip, Simplicity 4218, was published in the late 50s or early 60s (my preferred era, to which Mad Men very kindly lent its name). It’s cut from a bias cut cotton/silk blend left over from making my wedding dress. I find that where I live (North Carolina in the US), it’s really hard to find practical, pretty slips–the kind that you wear, you know, under clothes. Victoria’s Secret-style slips, and shapewear, yes, but a plain slip is more difficult to find. As I love wearing vintage dresses, a vintage slip seemed like a fun addition to my wardrobe.

Simplicity 4218 | allie J. | alliemjackson.com

The instructions for this slip were strange–in my opinion, you could really tell it was intended to be a utilitarian, everyday garment. There was lots of top-stitching! For example, the bust part was attached by sewing the right side of the lining to the wrong side of the skirt part, then turning the the outside part of the bust and topstitching it down–so you would get a whole row of topstitching on the exterior. I actually did this! Unsurprisingly, it looked awful, and I seamripped it out and hand stitched the seam instead.

Simplicity 4218 | allie J. | alliemjackson.com

If you wanted to machine this whole thing, I would suggest sewing the exterior bust part to the skirt right sides together, then stitching in the ditch to get the bust lining.

Simplicity 4218 | allie J. | alliemjackson.com

The skirt seams are french seamed and I hand stitched the lining as well. Excuse my mediocre stitches!

Simplicity 4218 | allie J. | alliemjackson.com

If I were writing this pattern, I would also sew the straps into the bodice seam. As written, I just stitched them down after the fact.
I really enjoyed this project, it was very calming because of all the hand stitching. When you are sewing with soft, pretty silk, it can be nice to put the extra effort into sewing by hand. The pattern comes with three items to add to your lingerie wardrobe: this full slip, a half slip (which I also made and blogged here), and “panties” which are like a shorts slip.

Thank you so much for having me, Sewcialists readers! I’m looking forward to seeing everyone else’s lingerie creations as well 🙂

xoxo,
allie

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Bra and Knicker Sewing Inspiration!

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There are so many bloggers making great lingerie these days! If you are looking for inspiration, here are some of my favourites to check out.

  • OhhhLulu sells handmade lingerie and PDF patterns – plus she’s from a small town just an hour and a half from me!
  • Emerald Erin is also from Southern Ontario – she’s been sewing a bra a week since the winter, and every single one is gorgeous!
  • You can also see some of Erin’s sewing on the Bra Maker’s Supply blog, and get tips and tricks from Beverly Johnson – or take one of Beverly’s two Craftsy courses about bramaking!
  • Andie from Sew Pretty in Pink and Leah from Is It Really Sew Strange both took the bra-making course at Bra Maker’s Supply, and now they make fabulous bras. Particularly inspiring if you have a large bust!
  • One Two more Canadian links: Tasia from Sewaholic and Heather from Closet Case Files have blogged some great bras this year!
  • On the other side of the world, Novita (Very Purple Person) has a whole range of posts on finished bras, pattern reviews and tutorials.
  • Madalynne and Handmade by Carolyn make lovely delicate things…
  • Anne, the Clothing Engineer, is amazingly detail-oriented, and gives great reviews of the bra-making kits she buys online.
  • Cloth Habit and Orange Lingerie sell patterns and are fabulous sources of professional knowledge!

In the comments, please share your own inspiration – other bloggers, RTW, or pinterest boards! 

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July is Lingerie Month!

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I’m so excited for Lingerie month to begin! We’ve got some great guest posts lined up, including pattern reviews, techniques and tricks, and expert advice.

You can join in by sewing bras, underwear, corsets, robes, slips or pjs! Any pattern goes – just grab the graphic above if you do a blog post and make sure you upload your pics to our Flickr group. (No modeled pics requires – only if you want, you sexy lady!) When you upload pics to the Flickr group, please mention in the picture title or description that they are for the Lingerie theme – that will make my life much easier when it comes to doing the round up at the end of the month.

If you’ve got any questions about lingerie sewing, feel free to ask in the comments! I’m no expert, but I’m sure some talented sewcialist will be able to help you out. What have you always wanted to know about lingerie sewing?

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July is Lingerie Sewing Month!

Lingerie Sewing Month Logo
It’s official! This July is going to be Lingerie Sewing Month here on the Sewcialist website. As always, it’s a theme, not a specific sew-along… so if you sew yourself any bras, underwear, slips, corsets, robes or PJs in July you can upload pics into our Flickr group to be included in the round up. (Don’t worry, they don’t have to be modeled pics!) We’ve had a couple great offers to guest post – Thanks ladies! If you are interested in writing a pattern review, tutorial, resource post or anything else, just let me know in the comments.

Things will kick off officially at the start of July, but I wanted to give you a chance to track down materials in advance. Unless you already sew a lot of lingerie, you might not have the right fabrics and trims in your stash!

As for me, I’ve signed up for a two-day custom bra sewing course at Bra Maker’s Supply which happens to be located just an hour away! The owner teaches the two Craftsy bra making courses, so I feel like I’ll be in good hands (literally?) I can’t wait to learn some new skills! (If you are looking for a place to start, Bra Maker’s Supply sells patterns, kits, fabrics and notions online, and is well-known and respected… and the Craftsy classes look interesting too!) I’d like to try sewing a Watson bra or two first, but we’ll see. On the boring-but-useful side, I’ve got plans for a slip and a few pairs of leggings shorts to wear under dresses.

What patterns or projects might you sew for Lingerie Sewing Month?

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Hello, want to sew bras? (And other undergarments?)

Hi Sewcialists! I’ve fallen horribly behind on organising things over here on the Sewcialist blog, but nothing is more boring than reading excuses, so I’ll stop there.

How would you feel about an “Underneath It All” sewing theme for July? Bras, knickers, slips, even corsets or pyjamas!  No strict rules or particular sewalong, just a friendly push to try something new and/or refresh your lingerie drawer.

If you’d be interesting in writing a guest post, let me know in the comments! Could be:

  • a pattern review
  • a tutorial
  • a resource round-up
  • where to buy materials online
  • inspiration post
  • or whatever you fancy!

Does that sound fun?

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