Category: Construction

My Experience Teaching Sewing

I never thought I’d be a good teacher. As someone who doesn’t do well with children, I believed teaching would not be my forte. But like anything in life, the more you do something, the better you get and the more you like it. One begets the other. In addition to my bra making duties, I’ve been teaching more. Ironically, I’ve come to like it. It’s a special feeling to give someone not only the skills, but the confidence to make a garment. Sewing is powerful. Additionally, it’s a very special moment when a student’s face lights up with excitement when they finish. I don’t talk about my teaching a lot, but today, I’m letting three of my students talk about their experience. Part self-promotion? Yes, but also motivation for me to keep going. Reading what they wrote inspires me to continue. SSohini: A few years back, I stumbled across Maddie’s blog while trying to learn to sew and make patterns. Since then, I have been an avid reader. I reached out to her several times when I needed help, and she replied promptly every time. This year, I became interested in bra making. I was frustrated with RTW bras and started looking around for tutorials, patterns and blogs. One day, I noticed that she was offering bra making workshops and lessons. Obviously, I jumped in. Since I live in Texas, we held our lessons over Skype so that I did not have to travel. Via live lessons and email, Maddie helped me choose a pattern and fabric kits and walked me through the basics of bra making. After our first session, I made my first bra Norma’s Malborough. What was great was that whenever I got stuck or I had questions (some of them were a bit stupid!), I texted/emailed her and she responded quickly and explained everything in detail. I am still in the…

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tags: Construction, fabric, teaching Comments: 3

Three Tips for Attaching Hooks and Eyes

Hooks and eyes can be such buggers! Do you know how many times I have been inches from finishing, but had to walk away because I couldn’t attach the hook and eye? Too many. So many that I developed a few tips so that I don’t have a, “Maddie, walk away from the bra!” moment. They’re not revolutionary and I confident I’m not the first sewer to use them. Most are common sewing tips that I’ve brought over to the world of bra making. In any case, they’re helpful and I thought I’d share! Before I get started, there are two types of hooks and eyes most commonly used for bra making. The first is a continuous length that can be bought by the yard or meter. The tape is trimmed to fit the length of the center back and needs no finishing, but I prefer to zig-zag the top and bottom edges. The second is a precut length, usually 1×3, 2×3, 3×3 or 4×3. I use this type the most because it is heat sealed along the top and bottom edges so it won’t fray or look ragged with washing. Universal Needle When I first started sewing bras, I experienced skipped stitches when attaching hooks and eyes a lot. It was frustrating to get to the end of the project, and struggle to cross the finish line. The reason was that I was using the wrong needle. Ninety nine percent of the time, the fabric I use for bras has lycra or spandex, so I use a stretch or a ballpoint needle. But hooks and eyes don’t stretch, they require a universal needle. It seems simple, but when you’re excited to finish, you forget! So, remember to switch your needles when attaching – I like a size 16. For the same reason, I switch needles when attaching channeling. HUMP JUMPER…

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tags: bra making, Construction, lingerie, teaching Comments: 13

What i Made: Mallori Lane

What I like most about Merckwaerdigh’s patterns is that one pattern comes with several different variations of essential the same bra. I’ve been toying with my patterns to do the same, so that fronts, backs and strap details are interchangeable. At least somewhat. I really like the cutout back on Nellie Warner, so I tried to recreate it in a different way for this bra, Mallori Lane. I also added a bottom band that channels Fortnight Lingerie. To top it off, I made it with sequin mesh. Every woman NEEDS a sequin bra. Not wants, needs! I hate to leave you hanging, but stay tuned later this week for an exciting announcement about Mallori Lane! Front bodice: flat sequin mesh (Jack B Fabrics), underline with matte jersey (Jack B Fabrics). Used temporary spray adhesive to spray baste fabrics together prior to cutting. Bottom band: 2 ply stretch mesh (Fleishman Fabrics). Used temporary spray adhesive to spray baste fabrics together prior to cutting. The sequin mesh had enough stretch/recovery to be used on its own, but the wrong side is very scratchy, so I lined with a soft, matte jersey. I’ve worn it on many occasions and the only time I can feel the sequins is when I wear a sleeveless shirt and under part of my upper arm rubs against it, but it’s not enough to cause a rash or prevent me from wearing it. 3/8” plush/picot elastic at top and bottom band (Bra Makers Supply) 1/4” strap elastic for vertical and horizontal back straps (Bra Makers Supply) 2 metal rings and sliders (Bra Makers Supply) 3/8” channeling for side (Bra Makers Supply) I drafted the front piece using my measurements and this Pinterest image. It was a pretty straight-forward, simple draft. Because there is no seaming (i.e. cross cup…

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tags: bra making, Construction, lingerie, What I've Made Comments: 11

Creative Ways to Use Sheer Fabrics

I first met Jennifer from Workroom Social last year when she made a trip from NYC to Philly. From her blog, I knew she would be personable and friendly. The kind of person could have coffee or drinks with and wouldn’t be shy to talk about sewing. When I met her, she was so much more. She has an unparalleled presence. She recently teamed up with McCall’s Sewing Patterns to produce 6 short videos that will hopefully push sewers to think beyond the pattern envelope. Each one features two McCall’s patterns and one sewing technique. When she reached out to me to feature one of them, I jumped on board. I am always happy to help a fellow sewer, but especially Jen! In the video, Jen shows creative ways to use sheer fabrics (i.e. chiffon) by adding a simple appliqué. I hope you enjoy!

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tags: Construction, Guest Post, teaching Comments: 3

What I Made: Nellie Warner (Nina Warner Part Deux)

I’m still in a stage where I’m making as many bra styles before finding my own. I’ve even created a Pinterest board… because who doesn’t love pretending you have more time than you actually have to make a perfectly curated lingerie wardrobe? With each bra, I’m refining the silhouettes, the level of support, the type of fabrics and trims that suit me. Surprisingly, this style has become my favorite go-to, casual bra. You would think that because of the high neckline, I would only be able to wear it under shirts with a high neckline as well. Not so. It’s super cute peeking out from underneath a button down blouse or an oversized tee with a low armhole. This bra, Nellie Warner, is an evolution of Nina Warner, and Nina Warner is an evolution of the Kitri Lace Crop Bra, which I first made last year. My goal was to add another variation/option to the pattern, which is a cutout racerback. Nellie Warner is an evolution of Nina Warner, and Nina Warner was an evolution of the Kitri Crop Lace Bra. My goal was to add a variation/option to the pattern, which was a cutout racerback. The bra also features princess seams and a bottom band. Center front, side front and back: Italian velvet-flocked lace knit (Emma One Sock), lined with firm/classic power net (Fleishman Fabrics). Used temporary spray adhesive to spray baste the fabrics together prior to cutting. Bottom band: stretch scalloped lace (gifted from Donna, a sewing friend who is a member of Bra Making Forum). This bra was a lesson of the importance of recovery in stretch fabrics. The fabric, a beautiful Italian velvet-flocked lace knit, has a lot of stretch (80% in one direction and 60% in the other) and little recovery. As a frame of reference, a high stretch fabric in lingerie…

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tags: bra making, Construction, knits, lingerie, What I've Made Comments: 11