First, if you live in the US, I hope you’re having a great Labor Day! I’ll be in the studio today teaching and prepping to shoot a sew-along for this pattern. Oops! I might have let the cat out of the bag…
Just like Sierra and Blake, these undies are a copy of a RTW design. To update those who missed those posts, I used to have a thing against buying lingerie from the market. It went against my handmade/sewing motto. That mentality changed when I went to Paris this summer and bought lingerie for the first time in over a year, rubbing off the patterns and copying the techniques. So far, it is helping my skills a lot – I get to experiment with guidance from an actual garment. It’s A LOT easier to copy a design when you have the tangible item in front of you rather than referring to photos. You can also take one half apart to see how it’s sewn and leave the other in tact. That’s assuming you’re not going to wear it.
F A B R I C + T R I M S
Front and back: black and white printed lycra underlined with white stretch mesh, both from Fleishman Fabrics. I used temporary spray adhesive to spray baste the fabrics together prior to cutting. I treated the layers as one going forward. The lycra is a very good quality, but it has 70% stretch, and for underwear, I like that number to be around 40%. The underwear has more “control”. Lining a stretch fabric with another stretch fabric reduces the stretch roughly 20%. So, by underlining with the stretch mesh, I was able to get the stretch that I wanted.
Crotch lining: cotton jersey from Fleishman Fabrics
3/8” firm black elastic for leg opening and front waist from Bra Makers Supply
1/4″ + 3/8” black strap elastic for strap details from Bra Makers Supply
3/8” white G-hook from Fleishman Fabrics
1/2” silver ring from Bra Makers Supply
During Amy’s sew-along, she wrote that it requires time, practice and patience to develop a hand for attaching elastic. I totally agree. When I sew elastic, I don’t use a formula (i.e. reduce the length by a certain percentage or quarter it off). I just know where, when and how much tension to apply. Believe me, this sense did not come without MANY failures. As a part of this, I have also developed a good sense of what elastics can be paired with what fabrics. Not all elastics are created equally –plush/picot, fold over, firm band, flat, stretch piping are just a few varieties. In my experience, firm band elastic cannot be sewn to a super delicate lace. It’s like sewing leather to chiffon. Also, the 1/8” stretch piping I’ve been using a lot lately cannot be used with a thick lycra or knit. It is too narrow and not strong enough to turn over for the second pass. So, the only reason I could use the 3/8” firm band elastic for this project was because the fabric was sturdy enough to hold up to it, and that’s only because I underlined with with stretch mesh.
C O N S T R U C T I O N + P A T T E R N
The pattern was super easy to draft. I have a block panty pattern that I used here, here and here (the last one is a low-waisted version). I used the same pattern for this underwear, except that I added a V in the back 4″. On body, it looks more like a “U” than a “V”, but that’s just the nature of using stretch fabrics – it’s hard to get a sharp corner, especially when there is negative ease.
Construction was easy as well, it was just a matter of getting the order of operations right. Normally, I attach elastic at the waist in the round, but it would be difficult for the elastic to pivot downward at the side seam if I applied it this way. So, I attached the elastic to the front waist, then to the back waist. For the back, I applied two separate elastic pieces – I sewed one to one side, clipped to a point as you would on any V-point, then sewed the other to the opposite side. Last, I applied the strapping details using the inspiration undie as a guide.
As for the bra – it’s simply two triangles with slight shaping at the bottom (to accommodate projection) sewn to straps and an elastic band using this method. The fabric for the cups is the same fabric as the undies, obviously, but the lace at the bottom band is from Tailor Made Shop. I’ll be back tomorrow for a tutorial that uses this bra- how to reduce bulk when sewing elastic. Stay tuned y’all!