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My Favorite Moments in Lingerie: Then + Now


I’m in the throes of some pretty heated lingerie projects (coming soon!) while also trying to work through a few kinks on this new website design (how do you like the new layout?). I don’t want to leave you hanging, so today, I’m popping in with a fun most. These aren’t ALL my favorite lingerie moments – missing: Jamie Lee Curtis in “True Lies” and Catherine Deneuve in “Belle De Jour” – but they’re in the top tier. Xtina, Kate Moss and even my mom. Just like your trusted pair of jeans, or your TNT patterns, I keep coming back to these ladies to fuel my creativity and designs. After reading, I’d love to hear your favs!

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    Review: Collins All-Purpose Sewers Aid

    The most annoying thing in the world – skipped stitches. Also, thread that breaks mid sewing. Grrr! One of my students at the London workshop, Shiona, said she discovered a miracle in a (little) bottle – Collins All-Purpose Sewers Aid. A clear, non-staining lubricant, a drop on the needle, bobbin or thread eliminates skipped stitching. Used mostly for embroidery, it can also be used for garment and lingerie sewing.

    I had to give it a try. I placed an order on Amazon (no affiliate links are used in this post) and have been using it for about a week. Not enough time to give a legit review, but I thought I would share and ask if you used it. If so, what did you think?

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    What I Made: Isla

    I hate underwires. Let me repeat that in all caps and italics. I HATE UNDERWIRES. Mona, owner of Coeur Boutique, says that a bra must have underwires. Being petite and bony, underwires literally hurt. They press into my ribcage. I have steered clear of underwired bras for quite some time. I still sew them as custom pieces, but the last time I made one for myself was the Marlborough. That was early 2015 – yikes! – that was long ago. I’m currently lusting monowired styles, and I plan to make one next month. Keyword being plan. Before I get to it, I tiptoed back into the world of underwires by remaking an oldie but goodie, Noelle, but altering the pattern for underwires.

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    A Small Milestone: #Bramakingwithmadalynne

    It’s a small milestone, but a milestone that means a lot to me. Last week, I was scrolling through the hashtag #bramakingwithmadalynne and saw that there were over 500 images uploaded. Hot diggity dog – that’s incredible!

    I created that hashtag just before my first bra workshop. It was 73 weeks ago. January 2015. The first image was taken with no anticipation that it would grow into what it is today – a gallery of women who have contributed to a shared, intimate cause – making our own lingerie.

    Teaching has become the most fulfilling thing in my life. I remember walking to the King’s Cross Station after the second workshop with The New Craft House on a high. I loved being able to watch those women succeed. To come in knowing nothing, or very little about bra making and to leave with the courage and knowledge to make their own. I gave them something, something no one else had given them. Also, the look on student’s faces when they get it right – I can feel their sheer excitement when they finish. With every upload to that hashtag, their enthusiasm seeps through they caption. It’s contagious. Infectious. Just as satisfying is seeing the progress student’s make over time. I give them the alphabet, but they are the ones who write their own stories.

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    SNEAK PEAK: Simplicity Patterns X Madalynne

    SNEAK PEEK! Over the past year, I’ve been working with Simplicity on 2 exclusive lingerie patterns. They’re not in stores yet – they’re coming soon – so I can’t say much. What I CAN tell you, however, is that students at my summer and fall workshops will be the first to try. There will be both a soft and an underwire bra. You may even get to sew the pattern before they’re released. Interested in attending? See the class schedule here and sign up!

    This year has been a big year for me. First the collaboration with Urban Outfitters and now this partnership with Simplicity? Pinch me! My vision has ALWAYS been to offer a way for people to either buy or make my products. Not everyone knows how to sew, and some sewists like to shop RTW. That’s why I have set out on a mission to provide both, and I’m almost there.

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    The Little X Girdle

    For as small as it was, The V&A’s exhibit “Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear” was extensive. At least it was for me. It provided interesting commentary, new designers, key moments in lingerie history and more. There were several stop and pause moments that made me think back to a time that once was. One of those moments – The Little X Girdle.

    Designed in 1958 by Ann-Marie Lobbenberg, The Little X Girdle was particularly popular with the younger generation. Ann-Marie was the widow of Max Lobbenberg, who co-founded ‘Ski-Corsetry’ in 1887. They made corsets, obviously, and were one of the few companies to stay in business during the First World War and The Great Depression. Actually, they were so successful that they had subsidiary companies in Paris, Amsterdam, London and the US. But the rise of the Nazis during World War II forced them to sell to a Bavarian company. The London office, however, continued to operate. The name changed to Silhouette Corset and throughout the 1930s, they became the leading corset company in the UK. In 1937, they introduced the ‘Silhouette Radiante’ to provide a “stimulating, even rejuvenating influence” of radiation. Ha!

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    London Recap (Fabric Shopping Details)

    Last week, I hopped on a plane and crossed the Atlantic for the second time in my 28 year existence. Alone, I traversed the city of London for a week, first teaching two back-to-back bra workshops and then stomping around the city. I never traveled when I was younger. My mom’s spine collapsed when I was just a teenager – breast cancer ate her bones. She had metal rods holding her up, and thus, couldn’t sit for long periods of time. So a long plane ride was out of the question. It was 10 years after she passed away that I made my first international jaunt – Paris stole my heart last July. Swoon. That trip taught me the importance of traveling. It really does feed your soul. On my last day in the UK, I was on the platform at the Hammersmith waiting for my train back to the Victoria station when I texted my dad this, which sums of how I feel about traveling: “You realize how big the world is. On the contrary, you realize how small you are in the world.” If you’re hesitating to travel for whatever reason, stop right now. Just do it! Oh geese… I just made Nike reference.

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    Bra Making with Madalynne: London Recap

    I didn’t know if I could do it – teach two back-to-back bra workshops. Do the math, that’s 48 continuous hours of stretch fabric, lace, elastic and estrogen. Oi vey. Throw in the international bit, I’d be teaching in London, and I was up for a challenge. Like usual, I let unnecessary paranoia seep in. Both turned out great. Fantastic actually! Cheers and cheerio to completing another (successful) workshop!

    Back up about nine months, when Hannah + Rosie of The New Craft House reached out to me with the idea to co-host. I had recently come back from a trip to France and was still suffering from the wanderlust bug. I said yes in about 2.2 seconds. When, where, what and how – that didn’t matter at the time. I’d figure the details out along the way. I had the opportunity to go to the UK!

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    Bra Making with Madalynne: One-on-One Lessons Now Available

    Can’t make it to a Bra Making with Madalynne workshop? No prob Bob. Did you know that I also offer one-on-one sessions? We all have different schedules, and I understand that you might have a conflict in your schedule. Also, sewing experience is required to attend the workshops, so if you’re a completely new to sewing, like never threaded a machine, you could take a one-on-one first and then sign up for a workshop.

    Something you’re interested in and want to know more. Read the full details below and email me to schedule a session.