I have been to and fro, here and there, and beyond and back again when it comes to lingerie I like. When I first started making my own bras, I was obsessed with longline silhouettes. Vintage and feminine, I made sure my bands measured 5″ at the hook and eye closure. Now, my bra preferences are more subdued and classic. But one bra maker that has always been a favorite of mine is Fortnight Lingerie. Actually, they were a huge inspiration and push for me to delve into the category of sewing. “Dammit! I want to make my own bras and undies like Fortnight!” Yeh, that’s how my internal dialogue went. In the interview below, Christina, the owner of Fortnight, gives a glimpse into her world. Sharpen your pencils, clean your erasers, and start taking notes all you bra makers, because Christina and I tailored this interview to cover the construction, the fabric, the seaming, and the trims that the brand uses!
I studied fashion design in college and after graduating, I took a few, short courses in Italy and London to further my education in garment construction and pattern drafting. I’ve always had a keen interest in lingerie as it’s such a fascinating and complex layer that is rich in controversy and history. It’s also a layer that’s extremely intimate and feminine, which is inspiring to me.
To gain more understanding of the lingerie industry, I worked at a bra fitting boutique, where I learned the importance of properly fitting undergarments and how to achieve it. This really helped lay the foundation for Fortnight and the ideals I wanted the company to represent. I found there was a void in the market for lingerie that bridged the gap between basic and overly mature or sexy. I wanted to create a line that presented a new vision of feminine style and combined modern design and the functionality of vintage lingerie.
Finding the right fabrics for lingerie is extremely challenging. I have found that the best fabrics have good compression, meaning the stretch is strong and recovers nicely. Also, I like fabrics that have slightly less stretch in one direction than another. All in all, the key is finding a good balance between all properties – stretch, rigidity, softness, and sheerness – because too much of one thing is never good.
The band is truly the anchor of the bra. It is where all the support should come from, never from the straps. In order to make a non-wired bra that’s supportive, a great deal of attention needs to be paid to the band. Make sure that the front is sturdy and non-stretch and that the wings have a sturdy stretch with good recovery, so that it doesn’t stretch out quickly.
Of course, a 3 step zig zag is incredibly sturdy, but I like the simplicity of a 1 step. With a single step, the needle doesn’t pierce the fabric as many times, which makes the stitch nicer aesthetically, and it’s lovely for necklines, underarms, and underwear. Don’t underestimate the strength of a single step either – it’s pretty sturdy too. That’s not to say that a 3 step doesn’t have its place. It works very well on the bottom band elastic, where the bra experiences the most amount of strain. Also to note, we use industrial zig zag machines for bar tacks and hooks/eyes as well.
It’s a combination of aesthetic and function. I personally love the way it visually connects the strap to the hook and eye, but it also adds a little extra support at the back. Plus, it allows the sliders to be located at the front of the bra, where it’s easy for the wearer to adjust them.
The design process usually starts with the fabric and from there, we find inspiration for our color story and marketing campaigns from all over, including film, art and music.
Julia Child, Kristen Wig, and David Bowie. Just a low key little get together.
When I was younger, I actually wanted to be a librarian! I still think it would be nice to work around books all day. Maybe that’s what I can become when I’m older. In between traveling the world, of course!