Category: Pattern Making

The Difference Between a Full and Partial Band Bra + How To Convert

I’ve sewn mostly full band bras, but I’m currently experimenting with a partial band style. The project has me going back to two posts I wrote about the difference between a partial band and a full band bra. I’ve learned a lot since, and there are some updates I’d like to make to that post. First is a clearer graphic that will hopefully explain the difference a little better. The measurements were also incorrect. I have deleted old posts since the information was not right and I’m fixing now. And don’t think that I’m moving away from soft bras like Nina Warner! They are still my favorite silhouette and I see myself going that route in the future, but this partial brand is just a fun little project. The pattern for a partial band and a full band bra are not the same, meaning you cannot sew the cups from a partial band bra into the frame of a full band bra. You also can’t decide mid-sewing to change a partial band bra to a full band bra or vice versa. In both cases, a pattern alteration is necessary. The only pattern piece that is interchangeable are the straps, and that’s assuming you have fabric straps and not elastic straps (elastic straps don’t require a pattern piece). A full band bra is a bra in which the cups are sewn into a frame, and a partial band bra is a bra in which there is no frame and the band and the bridge are separate pieces. For both styles, the wire line sits at the base of the breast, which is indicated by the lighter blue line in the figure above, but the position of the cup seam is different depending on the style. Briefly put, the cups for a partial band bra are bigger than the cups for a full band bra to account…

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tags: bra making, Construction, lingerie, Pattern Making Comments: 1

What I Made: Thongs + Free Pattern Download

My mother told me never to use the word “hate.” Well mom, I hate VPLs. Unless it’s the brand VPL, the acronym (visible panty lines) is a no-no in for my wardrobe. One way to avoid VPLs is to wear full coverage undies, and I’ve developed a high-waisted, bum-covering undie that is my TNT for dresses and loose fitting pants and shorts. But if I’m to achieve an entirely handmade lingerie wardrobe, I have to start making thongs because I wear tight pants, Ohh la la, here I go… Merckwaerdigh SS1 – blue and cream thong pictured – a lovely mix of 5 different thongs, some with scalloped lace and some without. RTW rub off – pink and white thong pictured – rub off from a RTW (ready to wear) pattern sent to me by a sewing friend, Di. We “met” on the Bra Making Forum Natasha and I started. Before PDFs, Di made a ton of thongs using patterns from McCalls and Kwik Sew. She hated all of them. They were either half way up her back or they were too wide in the thong part and folded up uncomfortably. Frustrated, she bought a bunch of RTW thongs and when she found the ones that fit well, she rubbed off the pattern and made a composite of various parts. She tweaked that pattern until she got exactly what she wanted and hasn’t bought a RTW thong since. Merckwaerdigh: front / back and crotch piece are 2 ply white matte jersey (Jack B. Fabrics) and waist is a scalloped lace (Arte Crafts). Used temporary spray adhesive to spray baste matte jersey plys together. I used 2 plys because 1 was too lightweight and sheer. RTW rub off: front / back are pink matte jersey (Fleishman Fabrics) and stretch lace (Spandex House). Used temporary spray adhesive to spray baste together. Crotch piece is white matte jersey (Jack…

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tags: lingerie, Pattern Making, Wardrobe, What I've Made Comments: 8

Weekend: Tried and True Patterns

Quick question for all you sewers. How many times does it take to make a garment before its pattern becomes tried and true (TNT)? I’m sure it varies from person to person and garment to garment, but I asking for an approximate. Two? Three? Five? It’s along the same lines as how long does it take for someone to master a skill? Some say 2 years while others say 10 years. Adding to this, once it becomes TNT, do you push it further or leave it as is? This has been going through my mind as I work on a few “TNT” bra patterns. Should I take it to the next step (adding different trims, using different techniques) or move on?

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tags: Construction, Pattern Making, Weekend Comments: 11

Dear Maddie: Altering Garments

In my opinion, both altering a garment and making one from scratch requires skill. One is not harder than the other, rather, each one requires different techniques and methods. Also, each one is suited for different types of sewers. While one sewist loves bringing life to a worn and outdated garment, another hates messing with something that is already constructed. One aspect of my sewing career that I’m especially grateful for is that started by getting my feet wet in both fields. When I worked at Mishka’s tailor shop, I helped create patterns and make garments from scratch (I remember replicating this dress for one client. That was fun!), but I also hemmed jeans (keeping the original hem) and shortened cuffed, men’s sleeves (that was a hassle!). Specifics… specifics… you want specific examples on what I’m talking about, right? From my experience working at Mishka’s and the trickling of alterations I’ve done since, here are my pros, cons, upsides, downsides, viewpoints, or whatever you want to call it, for altering and making clothes.   There is a different order of operations when altering clothes. When sewing a garment from scratch, the sequence is 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on, but when changing a garment after it’s been made, the sequence can be backwards – 4, 3, 2, 1 – or mixed up – 4, 2, 3, 1. Let’s pretend you have a pair of pants that fit everywhere except the back waist – it sticks out and let’s places that the sun don’t shine, well, shine. What do you do? Well, what Mishka and I did was add 2 darts on either side of the CB seam. Detaching the waistband from side seam to side seam (don’t remove the entire thing!), we added darts mid panel. If there were pockets, we…

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tags: Construction, Pattern Making Comments: 17

Bra Making: Finally, A Bra Pattern That Fits

I finally have it! I finally have a bra pattern that fits me perfectly! Well, almost perfectly (nothing in this world is one hundred percent perfect, right?). It has taken me many readings of Norma and Beverly’s books/manuals to wrap my head around the concepts of bra making. Silly as it may seem, I also made flashcards so that I’d remember what the point of most strain is and how to reduce cup volume on a dime. Through all the treachery (bra making is tough!), I am happy that I stuck with it and foraged on. Also, a huge thank you to Norma and Amy for answering all my questions! I’m still trying to find a conservative yet creative way to debut my bra as I want to show me wearing it rather than the bra lying flat, but until then, I thought I’d share the steps I took to get to today’s pattern. The key to achieving this pattern was correcting each fitting error one by one and then measuring the cross cup seam and total cup volume after each pattern correction. Why did I do this? Because when it comes to bras, and especially the cups, one correction will affect another one. An example – during my first fitting, I needed to reduce the cup volume and cross cup seam. But when I reduced the curve of the cup (reducing volume), this also reduced the cross cup seam. So once I reduced the cup volume, I needed to reduce the cross cup seam by less than pinned out in my first fitting. Putting this into practice: for a good fit, my cup volume needed to be approximately 4” inches and my cross cup seam needed to be approximately 6”. The cup volume of my initial pattern was 5”…

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tags: Fashon, Pattern Making Comments: 19