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Conversational Threads

Is anyone sewing lingerie?

karen_morris_ | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I’ve been teaching a few lingerie classes recently, and find that women are very interested in sewing bras. (I keep hearing that they think bras are hard, though, and I don’t really think so….) Which makes me wonder how many of you have tried sewing lingerie? I’d love to hear of your experiences, what you made, questions, future plans, etc.


  1. Shannon_Gifford | | #1

    Karen, I am gathering the notions to make lingerie; still have a few little things to find, then I can get going. I've made bras and panties in the past, but with a significant weight loss recently will have to re-adjust my patterns:)
    I love to make pajamas! I really like to use luxury fabrics, like silk charmeuse. I also love to make half-slips as gifts; easy and quick and much appreciated!
    If there is anyone who is afraid to make lingerie, don't be. It's easier than sewing a t-shirt! (and there are no sleeves to set in or buttonholes to mark;))

    1. Shannon_Gifford | | #2

      *Karen,I saw your guest spot on Sew Much More this am; wonderful! I never would have used the utility zigzag with a twin needle...what a bright idea:)But now, you're in trouble, because I HAVE to go buy your book!LOLThere is some drapey, soft rayon in my stash that has been earmarked for some "baggy jammies" as I like to call them. It is a loud Hawaiian print; I would not personally wear this print in public places, but I love to wear loud prints in my jammies! The linen set on the show was beautiful...may have to dig around in the stash for the hanky linen. I have some in an uninteresting color which will be stencilled or something to jazz it up a bit. Thanks for the inspiration!

      1. susanhale | | #3

        *Hi! I'm gearing up to get started on some bras this coming month (I was all set to send in my order to Bra Makers Supply in Canada...on September 11th- sent my "bra money" to the relief fund instead!) NOW I'm getting ready, and looking forward to actually having PRETTY bras that fit! Anyway, anyone tried making a bra with silk charmuse? Or the stretch silks even?I'm about to give it a try, and I'd love a little input. Also-anyone have input on the idea of making a chemise with a fitted underwire bra built in?I always feel so silly wearing a bra AND a full slip and having all those straps lurking at the edge of my neckline. --SJH

        1. Jillian | | #4

          *I've been married to the same man for 28 years, he has requested that I make some new nighties, so I am again attempting sewing lingerie. I prefer my warm snuggly flannels, but that isn't what he has in mind. So I guess me having cold shoulders is better than him thinking I'm giving him the 'cold shoulder.' I made two nighties with matching panties this week. I used the pattern and instructions in Jan Bones book "Lingerie Secrets". These turned out well. And I will make more. The pattern I choose begins on page 50 and can be used for a camisole, a nightie or a full slip.

          1. Jennifer_Murphy | | #5

            *Hi! I have been sewing bras ... decided that I could and looked around for as much information as I could ... I did a 'net search and that helped no end ... ended up buying a Kwik Sew pattern and played with that alot ... got a book from library called "Beautiful Bras" by Lee Ann Burgess which is very thorough. They aren't hard, just fiddly, and you have to be prepared to make a few until the fit is right. I buy old bras from the op-shop/thrift shop and take them apart for the bits ... straps, fastnings, and underwires ... this saves me about $8 from buying the bits separately, and also, I don't mind if the bras don't work. I just take the bits off and start again. So far, I've made 3 pairs ... one out of a shiney satin (they are cute), one out of an embroidered crepe (classy!) and one pair out of an old blouse, fabric was great, style was yuk! Because I'm not a big chested girl, I use padding for shape, and use the fusible fleece.Hope this all helps.JenniferWestern Australia

          2. karen_morris_ | | #6

            *Shannon, I'm glad you enjoyed the tv show! i haven't seen it yet (i don't watch tv, and forgot that it was on yesterday....) they said they'd send me a copy after if airs, so i guess i can watch it then. let me know if you're having trouble finding notions. maybe one of my mail-order sources can help (but if you get the book, you'll have the sources in the back). i think that all the notions are the reason people think bras are complicated to sew. every edge and corner has some strange-looking finding, ring, elastic, etc. but when you buy all the parts and make a bra, the sewing isn't at all difficult. sewing an accurate-width seam is important--this can affect the fit.I agree with you about wild prints and loud colors for pjs! right now i'm wearing my favorite thick white flannel ones with very bright fruit printed all over them. they just make me feel so good. recently i bought a beautiful piece of european cotton lawn with a very interesting gumball print in rich, subtle shades; when i got it home and the dust settled, i realized i'd NEVER wear this print unless it was pjs! so it will make a great pair of summer short ones. how nice to have such a problem as "significant weight loss" to sew for! that makes it fun and worthwhile. let us know how the bras go.

          3. karen_morris_ | | #7

            *Susan, i think the stretch silks are better for a bra than charmeuse....it may be too flimsy (although you could use two layers). but the real issue is the stretch--this just makes a bra cup much easier to fit than when you use a regular woven. i suggest that you start with a less expensive fabric like cotton/lycra or nylon/lycra, use that while you refine the fit, and then move into the stretch silks.make sure the underwires are big enough! most women are wearing the wrong size...too small. if you start with a larger wire and cup size, you can reshape the cup to be flatter, if needed, and get a good fit (this isn't everyone's problem, but is true for many of us).about the bra/slip combo, i agree with you that this is a great idea, reduces the number of layers to wear, and solves the multi-strap problem. several years ago, Threads had an article about one good way to do this--Connie Long wrote about her method of adding a slip to an existing bra, either one you sew or buy. it's in issue 69:76-78. doing it this way helps ensure that you have enough support--you can't just add underwire cups to a slip, because you really need the fitted band and structure. i think you can still get this back issue (at the Threads website, or your library may have it).but first, get your bra to fit the way you want.

          4. karen_morris_ | | #8

            *Jillian, one solution to the cold shoulders problem is to make a set of pieces that work together to wear around, and then peel down to the inner layer for bed. it could be a gown like the ones you've made, with soft, baggy pants and some type of shirt or short robe over it. i call these my "three-piece suits". it would give you more of the pajama feel that you prefer, and still give your sweet husband something nice to snuggle up to. (i think he'll make sure your shoulders aren't cold, once you get to bed.)Jennifer, i agree that "Beautiful Bras" is a great book. she has a helpful video, too. i'm glad you talk about perfecting the fit, and also about recycling the findings--a bra really doesn't take much fabric or time to sew, and it's worth playing around until you get a good fit.

          5. Jennifer_Murphy | | #9

            *I'm sorta happy with the bras that I have made ... but have a few 'wrinkles' here and there that I can't see a way of fixing ... it's to do with the straps I think, but then, as I don't wear skin tight shirts, it's not going to be a problem. I use woven fabrics for the cups and the front, and lycra for the back. I also cut the pattern so that you get the front to be matching fabric, and the back is just plain lycra and straps, this way, if you can't get a perfect match for the fabric, it doesn't look odd.I got a pair of bras from the opshop for $1 which are a great look, so I'll cut them up for a pattern (one of these days). The originals are in stretch satin, but my girlfriend has just finished making dance costumes out of stretch velvet, and she mailed me the scraps ... I have silvery white and purple stretch velvet to play with ... oh fun!! At present, I think I'm up to 9 pairs of bras ... think I'm going a little overboard here, but I love not running out! CheersJenniferWestern Australia

          6. karen_morris_ | | #10

            *I think you'll find that the fitting problem or wrinkles may disappear when you make the cups from a lycra knit. When the fabric stretches, even a little, it makes the fit more forgiving. Two-way stretch works better than 4-way; fabric that stretches in all directions doesn't give as much support. A solution to this, if needed on your stretch velvets, is to use two layers of fabric (for either the whole cup or just the lower cup), placing the stretch in opposing directions, to create more support. Oooh, then you could have velvet on the inside, too. Cozy. Let us know how the velvet bras turn out!Oh--what's an opshop? That must be an Australian term....

          7. Jennifer_Murphy | | #11

            *Op shop is the equivalent of your Thrift Stores I figure!I don't need a huge amount of support (not having enough to 'uplift'!) but it's nice to have underwear that fits, rather than, well ... the alternative! I'm not too sure about using the pattern for a lycra knit, it's designed for woven, plus as I'm fusing fleece onto the cup pieces, that pretty much takes out any stretch there is anyway! They are more like the designer look bras ... The stretch bras that I'm copying (or intend to copy!) are just one layer of the fabric, soft cups, underwired, and really, the velvet is just for the 'practice' .. plus, I figure it's going to be lovely to work with! Might double line the bottom cup - good thought! CheersJennifer

          8. Sherry_Gonzalez | | #12

            *What is the name of your book dealing with bras and other lingerie? I remember my Grandmother making her bras (using cotton). I haven't seen good patterns for many years and I have been looking. I like to sew lingerie, but have not had much time to do so. I am about to any way. Good bras are so expensive and seldom fit me well. The cups never feel right.

          9. karen_morris_ | | #13

            *Sherry, it's from Taunton Press and is called, "Sewing Lingerie That Fits". You can see it on the Threads website (go to taunton.com, then click on Taunton store, scroll down to Fiber arts, and click on Sewing). For good bra patterns, take a look at elanpatterns.com. They sell patterns, fabrics, and the elastic and findings you'll need.

          10. Shannon_Gifford | | #14

            *Karen, my copy of the book came yesterday, and I was completely worthless after it arrived! The photos alone were worth the price! You've done a marvelous job (of course). I also appreciate the detailed resource listings. I'm studying all the bra-making methods right now in preparation for making several for myself. Bras are so easy to make, I wonder why more people don't make them! You've also opened some thought for me in choices of fabrics. I loved just reading the descriptions of all the possible fabrics....definitely want to dip into the silks for some of these projects:)Thanks for a great resource!

          11. karen_morris_ | | #15

            *Shannon, I'm so pleased that you like the book. Thank you. We had a wonderful NYC photographer, Jack Deutsch. It was an honor to work with him (he does a lot of Geoffrey Beene's photography). I'm glad the book got you thinking about fabrics, too...although you already know about wearing loud print jammies! You can use so many fabrics, prints, and colors for lingerie that you might not wear "out". It's a fun secret.Let me know how the bra-making goes, what seems hard or easy, what works and doesn't work. After you get the thing to fit, they really are SO easy to make.

          12. Shannon_Gifford | | #16

            *Exactly! BTW, I'm so glad you are here! I "met" you at an expo a couple of years ago when you did the Threads Designers' challenge, and thoroughly enjoyed the presentation. We had about 3 of us in the class, so we got to really chat and examine everything. I've done a cursory reading of the book, and one item is really standing out; the use of a covered elastic. This makes so much sense, particularly when you cannot always find a match or a blend or the fabrics will not dye well. I also like the idea of using an embroidery weight cotton on the serger for small seams; I think that little tip might find its way into other projects at hand. My biggest beef with overlock stitching is the bulk. I wonder if my two-thread stitch done with cotton embroidery thread will be thinner now:)

          13. TC_Ferrito | | #17

            *Karen-I have had the book since in came out and I love it. I was at the Toronto sewing show and bought a high cut panty pattern from Jan Bones. Canadians seem to make much more of this practical stuff than we Americans do! I am going to make the panties in some lavender cotton with a bit of lycra in it. Any tips on making bras from cotton knits? When I was pregnant,I fell in love with those maternity bras made from soft cotton/lycra. They were so comfortable and warm. Now, 10 years later I want to find something similar in regular sizes. Everything stretches out too quickly, even though I don't put them in the dryer. Or if I find a style that lasts, they stop making it! Surely I can make it better myself! What % of lycra makes for a good fit in a cotton blend bra? Thanks!

          14. karen_morris_ | | #18

            *oh, Shannon, so you saw me in my rocket hat and japanese shoes. i don't usually dress that way....TC, Jan Bones has wonderful patterns; let us know how the panties turn out. Nice color choice.About the bra fabrics. You can use a lot of different fabrics for bras; in general, some degree of stretch makes the bra easier to fit, although if you have too much stretch, especially in all directions, you won't have as much support. A different amount of stretch will create a slightly different fit. So there's some experimenting to be done. A lot depends on your size--if you need a very supportive bra and want to use a fabric with lots of stretch, you can: 1)use two layers of fabric for the lower cup and cut them with the greater stretch going in opposing directions, to reduce the stretch, or 2) you can fuse the two layers together to greatly reduce or eliminate the stretch in that area. I've made bras from all-cotton knit, and from cottons with 8 - 14% Lycra; some of the nylon blends, like stretch satin, have up to 20% Lycra. If you have a choice, pick a fabric with stretch in one direction and very little in the other direction. You're right that Lycra doesn't last forever; to make the bra stronger, you can even construct the entire bra from two layers. Play around and perfect the fit with a type of fabric that you want to use again. Let us know how it goes.

          15. Shannon_Gifford | | #19

            *You know, what I'm trying to duplicate is the side padding in the Wacaol bra I own...it is wonderful! I am quite busty and took a bit of convincing to wear any padding in a bra, but this is so comfortable and totally non-bulky. It adds a bit of support and shape you don't normally find. Any tips?

          16. karen_morris_ | | #20

            *Hmmm, without seeing it, i can't really say. But could it be some fleece that's stitched into that area? Sometimes bras in larger sizes have a half-moon-shaped insert of firm interfacing or fleece, fused between two layers of lightweight fabric like tricot, then stitched in the outer lower cup to add support and uplift.I suggest studying the bra you like to try and figure it out. Then when one of these favorite bras wears out, take a cup apart to see what inside. You can also use the pieces to make a pattern, or to refine a pattern you already have.

  2. karen_morris_ | | #21

    Hello, Maureen. I'm glad you're enjoying the book. I just taught a 3-hour lingerie class tonight at the Fabric Place in Randolph, MA. We had fun. Tomorrow night I'll be at their store in Framingham, so people in the Boston area, please call there and come if you can!

    About the stretch satin--your pattern will show which way to place the greatest stretch, with a line marking like one for a grainline. Usually, the greatest stretch goes around the body on the band part and vertically on the bra cups.

    A tip--after measuring yourself and guessing at your size, TRY ON the underwire before you even cut out a cup. If the underwire doesn't fit comfortably (that is, enclose all the breast tissue nicely without pinching), then the bra will be too small; go to a larger size. I suggest that people who are unsure about their size buy several sizes of wires to try. Most people I'm running into are wearing the wrong size....

  3. Shannon_Gifford | | #22

    The Elan pattern site has a guide for choosing underwires based on the bra you currently wear. I think by using my noodle I can use the chart to figure out my "real" size. Let me throw this idea out to you guys and see if you think it will fly.....suppose I take a current underwire and trace it on cardboard, extend the ends of the tracing and cut it out. Use this as a fitting tool of sorts, placing it under the bust and marking exactly where the underwire should be different. I could modify and recut until I have the exact size I need, trace this, and send to the underwire people to match. Don't you think this would work?

    1. Sarah_Kayla | | #23

      *Randolph!!! I grew up in Quincy. I will have to check the store out the next time I visit my parents. This thread is making me think seriously about making lingerie. ... When life slows down to a gentle roar...

  4. karen_morris_ | | #24

    Shannon, this cardboard template is a good idea. The important thing is that the underwire is wide enough, so it doesn't squeeze your breast the entire time you're wearing it (yuck; no wonder we can't wait to take these things off).

    Yes, this may mean that you start with a larger cup size than you thought you needed. The first cup may be too big, but I think it's easier to make a cup smaller than to make it larger. Just try on the sample cup, with the underwire pinned in place (wrap the seam allowance around the wire to the right side and pin, so the pins don't stick you); you really need four hands to hold the four 'corners' of the cup to try it on right, so enlist the help of a CLOSE friend, sewing buddy, daughter, or spouse. If the cup seems like the right width but is too large in front, just pin out the excess fabric at the tip, tapering the new stitching line evenly to the sides of the cup.

    However, if the bra fits fairly well but the underwire is still a little too narrow, then you can try a larger wire in the same size bra. This works because we're making bras from stretchy materials, and the cup has some built-in give. For example, if I sew a 38C and the bra fits nicely, but the 38C underwire is too narrow to be comfortable, I can use a 38D underwire, and just cut it shorter at each end.

    The ideal length of the underwires is an individual thing. One factor is the bra pattern you're making (a low-cut or demi-cup needs a shorter wire than a full-coverage cup). Another factor is your height--if you are full-busted and short-waisted, the wires for your size may poke into your underarm when you sit; not a nice idea. So you can shorten the wire. The underwire is supposed to be higher at the side than it is at the center front. I've shortened wires by using pliers to pull off the plastic tip, cutting the wire as needed, removing the 'coating' on 1/2 in. at the end, and then pushing the tip back on.

    This is a great discussion! You guys are diving into the real-life, gritty world of bra-making and -fitting.

    1. Luka | | #25

      *.**Turning beet red in the face, hooking a finger in his collar and pulling sideways, and swallowing real hard, he finaly works up the courage to say**.Geeesh, I thought that it was exciting over in the woodshed. I think I'm going to have to go back there and stay, before you ladies give me a heart attack.b : )

      1. karen_morris_ | | #26

        *Luka, how did you find us? Were you doing a search using some "key" words??

        1. Luka | | #27

          *ROFLOLNothing like that.b : )I visit all the Taunton forums. Do a lot of posting on a couple, mostly lurk on a couple, and I have only once before posted to this forum.But this discussion stuck out like a sore thumb, and I just couldn't help myself. heheheAs you were. I'll go on back to posting with the sawdust crowd now.b : )

          1. Jean_ | | #28

            *Next time warn us. The least you could do is yell 'close your eyes, girls, there's a man in the room'. LOL. I was going to say a man on the floor, like they used to holler in our nurses dorm, but I thought you might misunderstand!

          2. Luka | | #29

            *ROFLMFAOGood one Jean.b : )Ok..."Close your eyes girls, there's a man in the room!!"

          3. Shannon_Gifford | | #30

            *Gives a new meaning to the term "panty raid", hmmm?LOL

          4. Theodora_D. | | #31

            *Hey, I was paying i attention here and you all let the court jester hush you up! He's utterly harmless. So, there's a man on the floor, just don't drop any scissors. I want to know if there are nice silk knits available in light weights for lingerie. If you make silk panties or tap pants, do they have to be woven and cut on the bias?

          5. karen_morris_ | | #32

            *Theodora, last time I was there, Banksville Fabrics (115 New Canaan Ave., Norwalk, CT 06850; 203-846-1333; $10, refundable, for 36 swatches) had a few bolts of beautiful silk/Lycra knit; I bought a piece of gorgeous dark green. It's a little heavier weight than you'd want, probably, for tap pants, but would work well for panties and bras. I can't remember the other colors they have, but give them a call.Yes, you can make panties from woven silks cut on the bias (which allows a snug fit and some built-in give), but personally, I prefer knits; I think they fit better and are more comfortable.

          6. Shannon_Gifford | | #33

            *I'll have to agree about the bias panties. Definitely go with a knit for this item; you'll be more comfortable, and that's what lingerie is all about, right?:)I'm still researching this bra information...in between preparing for yet another trunk show. I found a large cache of good quality tricot in colors at a local thrift shop for a little more than nothing, so I'll use that for my "muslins". At the same source, I found two bags; one with rings and one with slides. About 2000 in each bag....what a treasure trove this place is! (Can you dye those?)Now I'm on a search for appropriate trims. I have collected enough "real" fabric and trims and notions for two complete "sets" (bra, panties, slip), one in navy and one in silver. I'd love to have matching sets for every color in my wardrobe!BTW, the cardboard idea told me something more about the fit than I expected. It gave me the precise position of the curve and the space between the breasts. Took some fine-tuning, but I could do it by myself (!), no need for a fitting buddy. I used poster board as it is more flexible than cardboard and I could bend it around me. The original was a tracing of a somewhat well-fitting bra. When I positioned it on me, I was able to see the alterations needed on this pattern piece. Now to dream up some way to easily fit the cups:)

          7. karen_morris_ | | #34

            *Shannon, it sounds as if you're gearing up for some great lingerie sewing. I wouldn't use the tricot for muslins, unless you're planning to use tricot for the real garment. It just won't behave the same, ESPECIALLY in a bra. If your navy and silver real fabrics have lycra in them, then you need to use a similar fabric for the test garments. Sorry; I bet you'll find another use for the tricot. The huge batch of rings and slides are great! What a find. I think these are usually painted, rather than dyed. They're either metal (painted) or clear plastic (goes with everything, but is a bit thicker/bulkier than the metal). So maybe you can spray-paint these babies to match your fabrics.Your cardboard underwire seems like a perfect bra-fitting tool. Maybe you can write more details, so other people can try it. To fit the cups, just cut one out and sew the cup seam, or baste it. Then pin the underwire in place, turning the s.a. to the outside and pinning (to avoid sticking yourself), and try it on. Two pairs of hands make this step easier (one at each 'corner' of the cup). MAKE SURE it's big enough. If you're not sure, try a larger one; it's easy to take out any excess fabric at the tip, once you have the right 'footprint' cup shape. Also, if you're uneven, fit the larger side first, and make an adjusted pattern for the smaller side (label 'em).

          8. Mary | | #35

            *Hi, Karen. I wear a 36E bra. (Horrible small frame, large bust problem. It took me the longest time to get my shirts fitting right.) Do you have any ideas on where I can find a pattern that would fit me?Thanks,Mary

          9. Shannon_Gifford | | #36

            *I found another great little gem; there is a fold-over plush elastic that comes in colors! (And I found it at Wal-Mart, of all places:)) There was the exact shade of steel grey to match the lycra fabric I had, so I bought several yards. Last night, I made a pair of panties using this elastic. It is wonderful! You fold it over the edge and use a small zigzag on the edge to attach it. It looks very professional and is super-comfortable. Now I have to go back and buy all the colors; there is at my particular location of the store a peach, pale blue and the standard black and white, and there are two widths. It runs about a buck a yard. Karen, Thanks for the reminder about needing to do a lycra "muslin"...the tricot was mainly for panties and slips anyway. I'm thinking of doing a couple of pants slips, too. There's about 10 yards of this stuff, and it is really wide....

          10. karen_morris_ | | #37

            *Mary, Elan has several patterns that include your size (www.elanpatterns.com), as does Kwik-Sew (36E is the same as 36DD, I believe). The tricky part in bra fitting is getting the cup to fit, especially in larger cup sizes. With your small rib cage, your bust probably projects farther from the rib cage than most women. So you'll need a cup that's deep enough, with fairly steep curves. You may want to divide the lower cup section into two pieces, which will give you more 'opportunities for fit', more places to curve. Your center-front section will probably need to be fairly narrow, so the cups will be close together.Begin by purchasing enough fabric and findings to play with, and work on getting the cup to fit first. There's an excellent book available from an Australian author, Lee-Ann Burgess, called Making Beautiful Bras. It includes lots of wonderful instruction on making and fitting bras, with a focus on larger sizes. She suggests finding a RTW bra that really fits, and then copying it. You can get the book through her web site, http://www.users.bigpond.com/beautifulbras, or from Elan Patterns, above. It's another great resource for those of us sewing lingerie.

  5. Shannon_Gifford | | #38

    Yup, Wally World to the rescue:)
    I don't recall any special "name" for this stuff, it was just over in the laces and trims, on a spool just like they are presented. It is actually being marketed for necklines of t-shirts, so you may see a hang-tag with a drawing of a t-shirt on it. It runs around a buck a yard....I cleaned out my local W-M last week;)
    They have also been known to carry stretch laces over in the "cheap lace" section, so don't overlook that area.

  6. Shannon_Gifford | | #39

    Or you may find yourself making them for her for the rest of your born days:)
    I'm making Christmas presents for the dds today, nothing of which includes any lingerie, but after this is done, I'm planning a complete session to make myself some really gorgeous stuff. I made one pair of panties a couple of weeks ago and really got the bug to make more, but "duty" calls....gotta get this stuff wrapped and under the tree!
    I have found some georgeous lilac-colored stretch satin, some navy blue tricot and lycra to match, and a really interesting puckered stretch lace. I have plans for all but the lace.....it is about 36 inches wide and has a "popcorn" effect. Not unlike the stretch tops that were the fad this past summer....any suggestions as to what I could do with this? I have six yards:)

    1. karen_morris_ | | #40

      *Shannon, when i was recently in Chicago, Vogue Fabrics had some very funky lilac elastic with a small ruffle attached to one edge! I used it to finish the upper cup edge of a lilac bra, and it looks cool--sorta vintage, sorta tacky. just my style. they also had some in pale blue; maybe others. put up was 5 yds. on a card for not much $. Would the puckered stretch lace make a snug camisole? a sexy short or long sleeping gown, with a matching tie-waist bed jacket thing? or maybe even a bra, if lined in a contrasting color? (if it's not TOO stretchy...)

  7. Shannon_Gifford | | #41

    Maureen, I'm so glad you found that elastic...isn't it amazing? I bought out the whole supply here:)
    As for the popcorn knit, it's of "unknown" synthetic fiber content (I had my friend the fabric expert check it out), and is a bit scratchy to wear next to the skin. It's just so interesting.....I thought of using it with a lining as an artsy jacket for summer, using a contrast lining to show off the design of the knit. It isn't particularly drapey...just interesting. Maybe I'll use it as a tablecloth. Maybe I'll try to dye it...don't know yet.
    I found a rayon/lycra in a stripe that I'm thinking of using for panties. It's black, white and red, really sportly looking, but oh, so, so soft. I think the stripe will be fun, too!

  8. Shannon_Gifford | | #42

    Oh, the rayon/lycra is amazing! It is buttery soft, like a silk in feel, and very lightweight. I wish I could find this fabric in solids. I've seen rayon/lycra before, but it isn't this light in weight.
    As for winter, I actually had to forego my New Year's Day shopping trip this past January due to the snow....so we do get winter, but it only lasts one day:)LOL Actually, the standard joke around here is that we have two seasons; summer and February! Even at that, our seasons are a bit mixed up this year, too.
    I am in the process of finishing a pair of silk/lycra (woven) traditional style pajamas. That fabric is being a bit of a bear, though; I'm having to hand-baste everything due to creepage. The results are worth it, though! These are going to be some really comfy jammies! I'm using Louise Cutting's one-seams for the pants; I've perfected the fit of that pattern and find myself turning to it again and again. To make it into jammies, I just make sure to lengthen the crotch line by 1/2 inch. The shirt is from a Burda WOF from a year or so ago; just a shawl collar shirt, one pocket, straight sleeves, buttons up front. I'm using the wrong side of the fabric as self-trim on the hems of the sleeves, pants, and pocket. Turning out right nice, If I do say so myself!

    1. karen_morris_ | | #43

      *I've found some rayon/lycra knits at Banksville. They are really soft--perfect for lingerie.

      1. Shannon_Gifford | | #44

        *Do they have a website?(Like I need anymore fabric LOL)The jammies are nearly done...then on to the bathrobe! I do a new bathrobe once a year since I wear them out. Can you tell I'm a stay-at-home mom?

        1. karen_morris_ | | #45

          *Banksville doesn't have a website, but happily they do mail order. They have a policy where they charge $10 for 36 samples (which don't have to be sent all at once!), and then refund the $ when you purchase fabric. They have looooots of great fabrics, and four basement rooms full of out-of-season fabrics; it's a wonderful store. And if you'll tell them what you're making and what fabric you're looking for, being as specific as possible about color, etc., they're very good about choosing and sending samples.Here's their info: Banksville Designer Fabrics, 115 New Canaan Ave., Norwalk, CT 06850; 203-846-1333; FAX 203-846-8602. Actually, once you get to know them, fax might be a great way to request specific fabrics.What sort of bathrobe are you making?

          1. Shannon_Gifford | | #46

            *Thanks for the info; I'll definitely put them on my "to call" list for Monday!As for the robe, it's still up for suggestions. I intend to make two. I have a piece of all-over embroidered silk satin that I found at a thrift store, but the yardage is limited. I'll do a shorter robe from it, to wear over pajamas. Then I intend to do a long, cuddle-up-on-the-couch-and-read robe out of something soft and washable. I have a beautiful piece of camel hair that is screaming "Make me into a robe"...but I don't want to get pancake batter on it:)

          2. karen_morris_ | | #47

            *The emb. silk satin sounds gorgeous. it could be padded with some thin batting maybe, and sewn into something like an old-fashioned bed jacket? yumm.one of my favorite washable robes was made from a rich, dark, paisley cotton velvet. a gift from Garnet Hill, it was the first robe i ever had with shoulder pads (aargh); i didn't really start wearing it until years later when i ripped out the shoulder pads and threw it in the washer/dryer. then i could finally wear it (it was too 'precious' before). it felt very cuddly and luxe, but was totally washable/dryable. also, i just made a baby blanket gift from a layer of washed silk charmeuse and a layer of cotton flannel. that combo would make a cozy robe, too, and could stand up to pancake batter....

          3. TC_Ferrito | | #48

            *I am finally done with Christmas stuff and get to sew for myself a little. I got my panties cut out of the lavender knit and will use covered elastic. But I love Jockey cotton panties with the wide elastic. Where can I find this? I usually wait till they go on sale and buy a bunch. But we just found out that their outlet here is closing...what bad luck. So I will make a few for myself. Where are some places to look for wide elastic that looks good in an exposed application? I would take a picot edge or a stripe or even plain.

          4. karen_morris_ | | #49

            *TC, how wide is the Jockey elastic? I've bought some nice men's underwear elastic at Sew Sassy (www.sewsassy.com) in 1 1/4 in. width, with stripes. It's looks good in either a covered or exposed application (I like to use wide elastic at the waist of a panty, for a sort of "tummy-control" effect).If you want something narrower or scalloped, they probably have that too.

          5. sanderson | | #50

            *The new Threads just came today and I need to sign off here so I can go read the article om reproducing bras. From here sewing lingerie seems to be the equivalent of making spun sugar in baking.

  9. karen_morris_ | | #51

    Maureen, congratulations on completing your bra; i'm glad to hear that it was easy! It's really normal for the first one to need some tweaking, so don't be hard on yourself for getting "wrapped up" in the process. You did great.

    Instead of pulling that first bra apart (a tedious and unrewarding process, in my opinion), why not just slash the band and add in a small piece at each side (with elastic already attached; just lap edges and sew with multi-zigzag), so the band fits? You can use this first one as a "utility" bra, and then invest your time in making another gorgeous one that fits....

    Doesn't that sound like more fun?

  10. barb_c | | #52

    Karen, I have been wanting to ask about this since I read your book.......(which I enjoy, by the way) Where do you get the European knit fabric for underpants? Do you find it at Banksville Designer? Or was there another source?

    I am a larger size than those fine European knit underpants, and while I like Jockey's, I would love to make some of the nice one's.

    barb c

    1. karen_morris_ | | #53

      *Barb, i'm glad you're liking the book. that silky Austrian cotton knit comes from Josephine's Dry Goods (521 S.W. 11th Ave., Portland, OR 97205; 503-224-4202). Their stock changes all the time, because this fabric is not easy to get, but when i bought last they had several solids and a few prints. This stuff is expensive, but worth it.I also like lightweight cotton/lycra knits for panties. The Rain Shed has a selection of these (707 NW 11th St., Corvallis, OR 97330; 541-753-8900; $1 per swatch group).let me know how they turn out!

      1. Nancy_Peters | | #54

        *I am so glad I found this discussion. I heard about it on Sewing World. I have some questions...Karen, you mentioned to use the correct size underwire. Well, using LeeAnn's directions from here book, Beautiful Bras, I measured my underwire. I wear a 36 C but my underwire is 46DD wide. I purchased the underwires from Sew Sassy and I will cut the sides down.So here is my question...I have Elan pattern 645. Do I use size 36C and just run the bigger underwire in that cup? Or do I use the larger cup and cut the cup way down?This is not the first time I have made a bra. I made the Elan pattern 530 years ago trying to modify for a non-underwire style. Didn't work so I gave up. I have always found underwires to be extremely uncomfortable. I am hoping the width problem is the key.BTW I just bought your book and can't wait to delve into making panties. I don't know if I missed the information but how do I change a panty pattern to a thong? Is that information in your book? If so, I can't find it. Do you have a page number? Thanks.Nancy in Sunny, Hot Florida with the A/C running. Is it really January?

        1. karen_morris_ | | #55

          *Hi, Nancy. Getting the right size underwire is the first step in making a bra that fits your body. Consider yourself lucky that you KNOW what size underwire you need! Many women don't realize that the reason their underwire bra is so is uncomfortable is that the wire is cutting into the breast tissue under their arm, all day, every day.Before you begin, try on the underwire and make sure it's the right size for you--it will spread out a little in width when the bra is fastened in back.In terms of which pattern size, one solution is to copy the bra you have that fits (if you have one), using the instructions in Lee-Ann's book. Or if you want to use a commercial pattern, i suggest that you choose a size somewhere in between---don't make a size 36C, because the 46DD wire will never fit into the cup properly. Start with a cup size in between, like a size 42D or 44D, sew a sample cup, pin the underwire in place as instructed in my book, and try it on. You'll probably need two pairs of hands to hold the cup in place correctly. Now start pinning the cup to shape it to the contours of your breast. This is really like draping on the body. Transfer the changes to your pattern, and make another cup. Don't bother making a bra until you get the cup to fit you well.About the thong--you can take the basic brief made from the panty pattern in my book, try it on, and draw new lines on it where you want a different panty style to fit, then transfer these changes to your pattern. But i find that a thong is such a dramatically different shape than a panty, that it's easier to start with a special thong pattern like Kwik-Sew 2075. This results in a fairly substantial thong. If you want a tiny, wispy thong like the ones available now at the Gap and many other stores, just start with a triangle of fabric and use fold-over elastic to bind the edges and create all the straps.

          1. Nancy_Peters | | #56

            *Thank you Karen. Your answer really helps tremendously.I bought two sizes of underwires just to check, so I will have options. I am sure DH will be more than happy to be the extra set of hands. :)Thanks also for the information on the wispy's. That is more like what I am looking for in a thong. I am thinking it will be more comfortable to wear.On the lingerie thread at Sewing World, someone suggested lengthing the back piece to your proper crotch depth makes a thong more comfortable. Haven't tried it yet. Other sewing projects take precedence.Looking forward to reading more posts on this thread.Nancy

          2. Anna_F. | | #57

            *Can anyone please help? I need to locate a store, preferably in California, that sells large cup sizes bras (44 M). Thank you Anna

          3. karen_morris_ | | #58

            *Anna, try Treva's (6460 E. Yale Ave., Denver, CO 80222; 303-691-9991). They sell Cameo bras in over 200 sizes; the website http://www.trevas.com shows styles and gives measuring instructions. But you're right, it would be better if you could go to a store and be fitted. Try searching Cameo on the web, and hopefully you'll find a store in your area.

          4. karen_morris_ | | #59

            *I found two Cameo distributors in California--go to the web at http://www.ahbras.com/CARDCA.HTM

  11. karen_morris_ | | #60

    Maureen, that's really amazing that I appeared on your TV while you were making the panty pattern! A weird coincidence. I didn't feel very calm, really, while taping that show; there's a lot of pressure with TV to "get it right", even though Sue is a comforting and experienced host. But I'm glad it looked that way. Somehow in that position, I always feel that since there's no escape, I might as well just breathe deeply, then go ahead and do as well as possible.

    I'm glad the bra addition worked out. When I make covered elastic on panties, I just zigzag it on, then turn and topstitch with a twin needle. But I have seen very expensive panties with elastic threaded through a casing; this allows you to replace the elastic if it wears out before the rest. I think clear elastic would tend to fold in half; you might want to use another elastic if you do a casing. (Or maybe it's okay if it folds....it'd just be narrower).

    Stretch silk sounds wonderful! Let us know how it works out for your perfect panty.

    1. barb_c | | #61

      *Sometimes when I want to stitch a casing and know the elastic will fold I stitch a line through the elastic at the seams, going right across the elastic and casing vertically. I usually gauge it to the item and how much it could get pulled out. So you could do this at just the side seams or you could do it at the side seams and the front and back seam. It keeps the elastic from twisting. Then if you should need to replace the elastic you can simply unpick the stitches.BTW Karen, thank you for the store with the Austrian cotton. I got swatches but can't pick a color. Too many to choose from! I will give them a try though. thanks!barb

      1. karen_morris_ | | #62

        *oh, barb, it sounds like they have MORE colors that they did in the past....how exciting! i'll have to request new swatches.

        1. Shannon_Gifford | | #63

          *Okay, Karen, I got this catalog....Newark Dressmaker Supply. In it, they have a lingerie notion that is a bit interesting. It is a plastic rod from which you make your own underwires; you shape it and then heat set it to shape. Are you familiar with this product? It sounds, theoretically, like it is brilliant! If it works.....I made 10 items of lingerie in about two days time; amazing how quickly this stuff works up.

          1. karen_morris_ | | #64

            *WOW, Shannon. I am familiar with Newark Dressmaker, but haven't seen their catalog in awhile. I've never heard of this plastic underwire product! It sounds great, as long as the plastic is strong enough. I actually like the idea of plastic near the body better than metal (since metal conducts electricity, which is generally not the best thing for the body). I will call them and find out about it, and request a new catalog. Thanks for the info!Tell us about your 10 lingerie projects. (Amazing! 10 in 2 days??) What have you been making? These things do go very quickly, once you get the patterns worked out. I'd love to hear about what you've done, what you like, fabrics, etc. We can all benefit from your experience....

          2. Shannon_Gifford | | #65

            *It does sound like a good idea, doesn't it?Actually, the 10 projects is not that big a deal...lingerie is quick and easy stuff! I made several panties and a couple of half-slips. No big deal. I cut everything out at once, which streamlines the operation considerably, and try to do everything with the same thread color at once.....all those old "tried and true" sewing methods. Once you fit the first of any pattern, the subsequent production is MUCH faster!

          3. Pam_Petranek | | #66

            *Hi allI think I bought the plastic underwire type product you're talking about. It's from Dritz, and I got it at Joannes wall of notions on a 1/2 price day. It's says it's meant for bathing suits, but I figured I'd try it on regular bras. I also just saw it in either the latest Clotilde catalog or some other similar. I hate to admit it, but I haven't tried it yet. I'm still trying to perfect the fit of my bras.Pam

          4. karen_morris_ | | #67

            *Pam, what trouble are you having with bra fit? Maybe i can help...

          5. barb_c | | #68

            *Karen, I have a question. How can I change the fit of the front. When I buy bras they wires always stick out in the center front. What change do I have to make? Is the front connectors too wide? too narrow? Do I need different sized bras? Otherwise the bras seem to fit.I should mention here I am full figured and generously endowed.thanks,Barb

          6. karen_morris_ | | #69

            *Barb, I just ran into a similar problem in a fitting session with a full-figured woman. The problem turned out to be two-fold--the cups were too close together (the center-front piece was too narrow, especially at the bottom) and the wires were too small for her, so they couldn't lay flat on the body. Basically, the bra was too small.It's hard to say without seeing it on you, but hopefully this will help you diagnose the problem on your body. If you have an older bra that's doing this (one that you can sacrifice), try tinkering, making changes on it to see what will make the wires lay flat nicely in front. Then transfer these changes to your pattern.Good luck! Let me know what happens...

          7. Pam_Petranek | | #70

            *Hi KarenMy problems were just like Barbs, so you helped me too with that answer. Thanks. I'll keep you posted on my progress.I got out the Dritz plastic bra supports and reread pkg. They can also be used for boning, etc. Each pkg has 2 long round rods that are flat cut on either end. They say can be used from A-D cup. As a DD, I may have a problem. But since I frequently get poked in my underarms, maybe the wires were too long for me anyway.Pam

          8. karen_morris_ | | #71

            *Pam, I'm glad that answer was helpful. I realize that I can be more specific when talking about 'tinkering' with an old bra. By this I mean making a slit where the bra seems to bind or be too tight, and stitching in a small triangle of fabric, then trying it on to see whether that change helps the fit. This kind of tinkering can help you zero in on a better fit.Honestly, when I see the bras some women are wearing, I think that ANYTHING they make will fit better than what they have! It's actually encouraging. Even if the first sewn bra isn't perfect, it'll often be as good or better than what they have. And subsequent bras can get better and better, with observation, asking Qs, and experimenting.If your DD underwires poke you under the arm, they're either too narrow (small) for you, so that they rest on breast tissue under the arm (ouch), or they're too long. Metal underwires can be shortened. Or you can try these heat-set plastic ones. I'm curious to learn whether they offer enough support for a DD. Please let me know what you find out.

          9. Judy_Williment | | #72

            *Karen, I have a question for you - do you think it'd be difficult to adapt a pattern to make a nursing bra? Most nursing bras are totally hideous, and I've lost a lot of weight recently, and need some smaller ones anyway. I like the idea of making one that fits, and looks nice (even sexy, if that's possible!). I know I can get Kwik sew patterns here easily (New Zealand), and hooks and things, but I'm not sure about the catches for the nursing flaps. I have one bra which has zips under the cups, which is the best for support - not all the pressure is held by a little catch! I'd welcome any suggestions you have. Also, since I won't be nursing forever, any ideas for easily alterable nursing adjustments?

          10. barb_c | | #73

            *Judy, I am not Karen......but I am nursing my daughter and I have made nursing bras. You can use just about any style pattern or bra. Disconnect the cup from the upper arm strap. Attach an elastic teather(my word) to the strap on one end of the elastic and the other end to the base of the bra. I put this under the arm. Then attach some fastening to the cup and strap. I have used hooks and eyes, velcro, and hooks. The teather keeps the straps from falling down completely when you pull the cup down. It also makes it easier to re-attach the cup.It really isn't very hard. I did this adaption with an Elan pattern I made and it worked nicely.If you buy the bra or make the bra it can be lace or whatever material you want. I wouldn't suggest making a lacy bra if you are just starting nursing because those pads will negate any 'prettyness' but anything that looks and feels good to you is fine.Oh yea, some say not to wear underwires when you are establishing the nursing. I didn't have any problem but I guess it might complicate things, you can always ask a lactation consultant.Karen might have other suggestions. Barb

          11. karen_morris_ | | #74

            *I think you should make a black lace nursing bra--something that you'd never be able to buy (why are they ALL made from thick white cotton?) It's also easy to make a nursing bra that's designed more like the purchased ones. One way is to make an inverted-Y shaped undercup piece that's attached to the strap, and then make an over-cup that hooks and unhooks from the strap; you can just use regular hooks and eyes for that. The undercup and overcup are attached together at the bottom, center-front, and side.There's a wonderful book on bra-making that I'm sure I mentioned somewhere above, but I'll put it here again--"Making Beautiful Bras" by Lee-Ann Burgess, from Australia. She tells how to make several styles of nursing bras, plus just about everything else for bras (mastectomy, copying a bra you love, etc.) It's a must-have book if you're hard to fit and/or really want to learn more about bra-making. You can order this book from Elan Patterns (www.elanpatterns.com) or directly from Lee-Ann at http://www.users.bigpond.com/beautifulbras (probably less expensive shipping for you, Judy).

  12. barb_c | | #75

    Maureen, how did you adapt the pattern for the stretch silk? I have some of that fabric myself (as a matter of fact some lavender is sitting at my feet) and I was thinking (dreaming?) of making some myself.

    Did you get the pattern to the right size with a knit? How did you adapt for the woven stretch?

    I can see how the fabric would be beautiful to wear all day. :)

    Barb (dreaming of silk)

    1. Judy_Williment | | #76

      *Barb and Karen - thanks for the great advice! I hate the look of nursing bras - Yep, all thick white cotton! I miss lace and prettiness. The inverted Y idea is like some I've bought, which I find easier to do up after nursing. Barb, do you find the cup still gives you enough support with your elastic tether? How wide/thick elastic did you use?I'll definitely look for that book - from Australia to here shipping isn't too bad, and the thought of pretty lingerie again is too tempting! I also like the idea of making a matching thong (my preferred underwear). Black lace just makes you feel different to white cotton! Thanks again ladies, I'll gladly take any more advice anyone has to offer.

  13. barb_c | | #77

    I have the Making Beautiful Bras (and her swimwear book) they are good. She goes into GREAT detail on how to copy a bra.

    For the tether, I just use a narrow 1/4 inch elastic. The purpose is really to keep your shoulder strap from going to the back and getting lost. The tether doesn't maintain support but because I used it with the Elan (530?, I believe) there were under wires and they support a bit. Besides I rarely walk around nursing, in fact only when TOTALLY necessary ;)

    I also made some nursing bras in the sport style. I bought a Bravado bra and copied and adapted it for me. My favorite adaptation was the last to be made (I really gotta make some more -at least one). I take the largest size in the Bravado and they go straight across the front and have some princess seam shaping. I made it a wrap style with hook and eyes at the top of the cup so I can detach the cup to nurse. However I found because I used a fold over elastic in the front wrap I can just pull the cup aside. The makes for very easy nursing, even if I am larger sized. I used the wide elastic Cynthia Elam (?) sells and made the bottom band with that. I think it is two inches wide. I also use a heavier weight cotton/lycra knit that I can buy locally. These go together pretty quickly and there is no excuse for me not having more of my favorites.

    Maureen, I made a bra with the stretch silk, but it wasn't quite the size I wanted. It did look great and feel wonderful! I just want a better fit. I was making it up as I went (no pattern) so I decided to try and make the Elan pattern just to see how that works. I have it all cut out, but haven't gotten to it. Too many projects and too little time.

    I do want to try underpants with the silk. My favorite purchased underpants are the Jockey and I was thinking about cannabilizing a pair to make a pattern to try out. They fit well but it would still mean the switching from a cotton knit fabric to a stretch woven. I might have to make it a bit larger. You know, I bet baggie silk underwear will still feel good..... so I should just do it! :-)

    Too many projects too little sewing time. And a kids to occupy me too. If only I could double the hours in a day!

    Barb (who finds many hours sucked up with computer stuff, but loves being in contact with other sew-ers!)

    1. Judy_Williment | | #78

      *Years ago (before kids, when I had time to experiment!) I once made a pair of knickers from a non-stretch, woven cotton. It was mostly to use as a muslin, to see how they fitted, and to my astonishment, they were really comfy, despite no stretch. (They were cut on the bias though). So I'd say if you have a stretch woven you won't have to allow too much extra ease. Give it a go with extra ease, but pin the elastic on and (carefully!) sit down in them before you sew it on. You might be surprised at how comfy they are.

      1. lrdiehl_ | | #79

        *I am thinking about making bras. The one problem I have with purchased bras is that the bottom band rides up in the front. I have tried bras with underwire, no underwire, even sports bras ride up. I am not small busted and every bra ends up under my breasts. Any ideas? Thanks.

        1. Judy_Williment | | #80

          *I have another question - how hard would it be to clone a nursing bra, then grade down the size? I have one which I love, which fitted beautifully till I lost weight, now its just a bit big! (Still comfy though) I'd love to make one the same style, which fits. How would I go about reducing the cup size? Where do I take off the excess fabric? I have the article on cloning bras, and Karen, your book is next on my shopping list, but any suggestions to get me started would be gratefully received.

          1. karen_morris_ | | #81

            *Linda, thanks for writing to me here. I wrote you a long answer last night, then lost it when I changed to a different screen without posting....aargh.So I'll try again. It's harder without seeing the bra on you, of course, but usually the reason a bra rides up is because the cups are too small. It's like trying to put a newborn cap on your 1-yr.-old's head--it just won't stay down where it's supposed to sit. So the bra doesn't want to sit down under the breasts, it wants to ride up. Up above somewhere in this long thread, I talked about how to test an underwire and find one that fits. When you buy wires, get several sizes, starting with the one you wear now and going larger (they're just a buck per pair). The ones you end up not using can be traded for the right size, or given to your sister, etc. Try just the underwire on your body. It should fit comfortably around the edge of the breast (although when you fasten the band later, it'll widen just a bit). The wire shouldn't lap onto breast tissue under your arm.Okay, so when you find an underwire that fits, you can start by cutting out and sewing one cup in that size. If it fits nicely around the width of the breast, but is too big at the tip, that's easy to fix--just pin the amount you want to remove at the tip and restitch that part of the cup seam, tapering to zero at the sides. Mark the same changes on your traced pattern. If you don't like the way the cup fits, try another size. You haven't wasted much fabric or time, and you're zeroing in on a better fit. Once you get the cup to fit, it's easier to fit the band.Making the band a little wider, shaping the band piece so it's a little lower in back, and using wider elastic around the lower edge are other things you can do to help the band to stay put.I hope this will help you get started. Let us know how your experiments turn out.

          2. karen_morris_ | | #82

            *Judy, in general, it's easier to make a cup smaller than to make one bigger. It all depends on where the nursing bra is too big, and how much. You say "just a bit big"--that doesn't sound too difficult. If the band is too big, that's an easy fix. If the cup is too big, but still fits around the perimeter, you can take out the excess at the tip, as I mentioned above. Or you can trim just a tiny bit from every seam, and try that.Be willing to play around with it. If you make a test cup or two, you won't be wasting much fabric or time. Another way to make a cup smaller is to sew it from a firmer fabric, with less stretch than the original one. You can fuse two layers together for the lower cup to eliminate the stretch there.Again, I really recommend the Australian book for this level of bra-making. She has lots about nursing bras, and lots about copying a bra.

          3. Judy_Williment | | #83

            *Karen, thanks for that. The cup is the problem - it's now too big, but because the band and straps are still OK the bra is still usable (just), but I'll have a go at copying and reducing the cup. It doesn't have an underwire, so i don't have that to deal with! Now all I have to do is find that book again - I'm sure I saw it on this thread somewhere! By the way, I'm nosy by nature, and noticed the time you posted - you should be in bed! Not that I ever go to bed when I should. I like being up when the house is quiet and the kids are asleep. I find it so much easier to concentrate on my sewing then, even when I'm tired.

          4. karen_morris_ | | #84

            *Judy, the book is "Making Beautiful Bras" by Lee-Ann Burgess (available from her website at http://www.users.bigpond.com/beautiful bras, or from Elan Patterns at http://www.elanpatterns.com).If your bra is just a little too big in the cups, you might try unpicking the cup seam at the center front and resewing it with a wider seam allowance, tapering to zero at the sides. This will give you a slightly flatter, smaller cup.

          5. Judy_Williment | | #85

            *Karen, thanks for the suggestion. By coincidence it actually occurred to me this morning, when I put this bra on. I was a little concerned about reducing the cup without being able to reduce the edge on the band (where an underwire would go), but by folding out accross the seam line, which is horizontal, I can see I'll be able to make a big improvement in the cup size by reducing that, and a bit of cup at the side edge. The band is only very slightly big, so if I take off the hook and eye tape and remove a small section of band then reattach it, it'll be fine. While I'm doing the adjustment would be a good time to do the copying too. I remember now looking at Lee-Ann Burgess' website, and can order the book cheaper from there than Elan (shipping to NZ is a lot closer!) so will probably do so. Now I'm dying to get started! I just have to finish a pair of curtains for my former landlady, some cushion covers for my mother, alterations to my partners trousers, put buttons on a cardigan for my daughter...............

          6. karen_morris_ | | #86

            *this sounds good. a lot of bras are more 'pointy' in the CF cup than they need to be, so you probably will like the new shape just as well.radical idea....why don't you do YOUR project first, and let the others wait another day??

          7. Judy_Williment | | #87

            *I finished all but the cushion covers last night, so now I can get stuck into something for me. (Bit of a novelty) I'll let you know how it goes.

          8. lrdiehl_ | | #88

            *How does one get a correct measurement if the bras they have are not fitting them correctly? My concern is the cup size.

          9. karen_morris_ | | #89

            *Linda, I find that measurements are not terribly accurate in indicating the correct bra size. They just suggest a good place to start. You can measure and get a good idea of the band size (pull the tape snugly, then add either 4 or 5 in. to get an even number, as described in the patterns). If you have someone (hopefully a very close friend or partner) to help you measure, you'll get better results. If you know your bras don't fit well, you can even try measuring without a bra, holding your breasts in the position that they should have with a good-fitting bra (uplifted and centered), and letting the other person measure you. Ultimately, you'll just have to make an educated guess and start somewhere with a sample cup. Be aware that the cups on Elan Patterns tend to run a bit small, so go up a size from what you've been wearing, even if it fits. Fitting the underwire first will also help suggest a cup size to start with. It's got to be wide enough. In my classes, it's not unusual for a person to end up in a bra 3 to 4 sizes larger than what they were wearing before; sometimes the cup is much larger (wider), but reshaped to be flatter, and the band size is often smaller (sometimes they were wearing a too-big band in an attempt to get larger cups).You may think I'm nuts, but for me this is really a feminist issue. Take the space you need and deserve! Don't fit yourself into a too-small space. When you put on a bra that really fits, the difference is staggering--elegant, comfortable, beautiful.I always remind people that a sample cup doesn't waste much fabric, and takes just a few minutes to cut out and sew together in order to try it on (with the underwire pinned in place). If it's too small, cut out and try a larger one. Keep going! This way, you can get pretty close with the cup size before you go to the trouble of sewing an entire bra.

          10. TessaGMB | | #90

            I have just found this discussion and read all your messages with great interest. I had been seriously thinking of making bras after seeing a couple of articles in THREADS, now I've got even more encouragement. My one attempt had been a sort of sport bra using the pattern for a swimsuit top. The swimsuit fitted me well, but not the bra - I think the cotton/lycra I used is heavier and not as stretchy as the nylon/lycra for swimsuits.

            I have been making panties for years for myself and my mother-in-law. I bought a KwikSew pattern which I think is now out of print, and then modified it quite a bit using my Jockey panties as a guide. I kept finding that other brands rode up over my butt. The pattern had attached self-fabric bibding enclosing the leg elastic, but I only did that on one or two pairs. It seemed way too much work, and bulky as well. Since then I have used 3/8" clear elastic zigzagged (multi-step zigzag) to the edge, folded over and stitched down with a narrower zigzag. For the waist I bought metres and metres of namebrand (Hanes and John Henry) 1.25" elastic when a local fabric store had it really cheap. Don't know where they got it, and I've never seen it again. These are actually manufacturers extras I guess, since they're already sewn into waistbands, all in really large sizes! I just cut them to the size I need.

          11. audsews1 | | #91


            i have a strange lingerie question.  just what part or parts of the anatomy is the crotch lining supposed to cover?  just front, just back, both?  i need to know for my master panty pattern-- the commercial undies just don't seem to get the coverage i'm thinking they're supposed to.


          12. lin327 | | #92

            I don't know if this will help, but I just finished a bathing suit for myself, and I made the crotch lining to fit where I wanted it to go so I was comfortable.  So why not just put it where you want it?  Nobody needs to know that you did it different than the standard, and I promise I won't tell:-)

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