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What i Made: Intimates

lingerie (1 of 5)

It’s about to get intimate. Keeping it PG-13, at least in my opinion, I bared it all for the sake of lace and high waisted undies. Intimates look so much better on body than flat, amirite?

For many sewers, making a jacket is a defining moment in their career. It says, “I have arrived as a stitcher.” Before, they were a nascent maker, but after, they are an adept, able and competent craftsperson. Conquering lapels’ sharp corners and pivots, and bagging a lining, they can do anything from there on out. For me, it’s not mastering jackets that makes me a real sewist; it’s intimates. Getting the hang of and developing a hand for elastic, stretch fabrics and hooks and eyes requires a keen and a devoted personality. I can attest to that.

I spent half of 2012 and most of 2013 tweaking a bra and an undie pattern I bought when I first starting sewing intimates. But by the end of the year, that pattern had become Humpty Dumpty, broken and put back together again too many times. A frankenpattern. I needed to start clean and fresh. Mentally too. So, I took a step back from bra making for 4 months. Then, in early March, I met Norma for the first time during a meet-up Lauren organized in NYC. During the peak of my bra making, her book, Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction, could have been considered my wingman, piloting me in a potentially dangerous situation involving lace, underwire and zigzag stitching. She told me about the projects she was working on, and it pushed my tush to get back in the game. First stop when I got back to Philly – Free People to buy my favorite RTW bra so that I could rub off the pattern.

If you’re an intimates-maker struggling to find a pattern to fit your girls, write this down, copy a RTW bra that already fits you! I could have saved myself a year and a half of slashing and opening if I had started from an already made bra. If you don’t have an extra of your favorite bra, buy one. Forget about price. It’s worth it.

There are ways to create a pattern from an existing garment without cutting it apart, but I didn’t go this route. I get the most accurate shapes when I carefully take apart the article of clothing and trace around each piece. This is what I did for this set.

Both the bra and the undie are made with a 2-way stretch lace and underlined with satin Spandex (except for the wing of the bra, which is just lace/unlined). The waist and leg openings are finished with a stretch lace trim, which was set almost flat (without stretching). Who wants their undies digging into their skin? All notions for the bra were bought at Bra Makers Supply. I lined the cradle and bottom cup with micro mesh, clean finishing the bottom cup to the top cup. All other construction is standard bra making. No major callouts or major discoveries.

So, what do you think? Have I arrived or have I arrived? Thinking ahead, is this the kind of bra you’d like to see taught at a bra making workshop?

lingerie (4 of 5)lingerie (2 of 5)


  1. Reply


    This is beautiful!

  2. Reply


    Beautiful! And I love your pictures too!

  3. Reply


    Stunning! Fairy tale perfect.

  4. Reply


    So pretty!

  5. Reply

    Sarah Sew Love

    gorgeous! and go you for sharing those lovely pics. I just bought my first knickers pattern..and already had that thought about how to share the make on zee blog haha. Thanks for the tips and inspiration xx

  6. Reply

    Christianne McCall

    I’d love to learn how to make my own bras…I am SO tiny on top I cannot find anything RTW that fits well…

  7. Reply

    Debbie Iles

    Gorgeous pictures as always!

  8. Reply

    Heather Lou

    Gorgeous! I REALLY need to make more lingerie. I just have to invent an extra 8 hours a day…. most of my makes from last year are already pretty ragged.

  9. Reply


    really wonderful job. they’re sexy, but also have a nice relaxed feel to them. something that it would make one happy just to be wearing.

  10. Reply


    I’ve recently started to get really interested in sewing lingerie. I got a “real” bra fitting awhile ago and although it’s nice to find a more comfortable fit, it’s a struggle to find cute bras in my new size! It would be great to be able to make my own. Your new bra and undie set are beautiful! I may have to check out that book and just take the plunge! 🙂

  11. Reply

    Ping Mathre

    This is absolutely beautiful! Your bra-making adventures last year inspired me to dip a toe into intimates. Sadly, I have not arrived.

  12. Reply

    The Nerdy Seamstress

    My goodness!! I love your bra and undies! Of course, your photography as well! I’ve been really motivated make my own bra and undies too. I’m gathering up as much info as I can. I think I’m ready to give it a try!

    Yes! You’ve arrived!

  13. Reply


    you look loverly, maddie.

  14. Reply


    Wooooooo! Yup you have arrived. You’re already there though! You have amazing skills. Well done conquering the intimates!

  15. Reply


    Awesome! In all senses- sewing skills and design, patience and tenacity, styling and posing on the Internet in your undies so naturally !

  16. Reply


    This looks gorgeous, Maddie!! And thanks for the advice to make a rub-off pattern. I’m one of those rare birds who ACTUALLY fits into a normal, standard size bra, so I never had much urge to make my own bras. But It would be nice to copy my old favorites in prettier fabric. Great job!

  17. Reply


    Really lovely. Love your photos as well. I just took a class at Bra-Makers. Totally awesome.

  18. Reply

    Amanda Russell

    Thank you for this – your intimates are soooo pretty, and the photography awesome as always 🙂 Very very good advice – my favourite bras are EXPENSIVE, but incredibly well made, and I don’t think I’d have the courage to rip one apart if it weren’t for an experienced person telling me it’s worth it. But it just makes so much sense! 🙂 Will you be posting on supply resources? That would be an interesting journey in itself, I reckon 🙂

  19. Reply


    Ooh la la. Very very pretty photos! Ivory is so lovely and natural on you. I totally second the idea for taking apart a bra. If you don’t like hacking patterns (as much as I do) taking a favorite apart is less expensive in the long run! It’s also my favorite way to learn construction techniques. 🙂

  20. Reply

    awfully nice

    These are gorgeous! I meant to reply to your post about interest in sewing workshops – I live in Baltimore and would definitely love to take a bra-making workshop if you taught one. And, uh, this bra would do just fine! 😉 I’d probably have to save up for it, but getting to Philly is no problem (I was just there yesterday!).

  21. Reply

    Helen McFadyen

    You look amazing, and the bra looks perfect. And yes, I would attend a similar course, if there was one near me. I think the process sounds fascinating, and I can never find bras with the shape/fit/fabric/colour options I prefer.

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