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Sewing History: Sew Lovely

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Sometimes, to move forward, you must reflect on the past. In the case of learning how to sew lingerie, these words have been very true. In addition to Beverly and Norma’s bra making manuals, which have helped me to become better at making undies + underthings, vintage lingerie books have also been handy resources. I bought this gem, Sew Lovely by Laverne Devereaux, on Ebay for roughly $5 and when I first read it, I amazed at how much bra making has changed and has not changed. I guess, in general, the industry as a whole is just in a different place now. There were lots of learning points in the 50 page book, but here are the pieces information I held onto the most (highlighted in pink on the image).

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STRETCH_01 There are two ways to increase the stretch of a stretch stitch – widen the stitch width or shorten the stitch length. That was my affirmation for a long time.

POWERNET_01Did you know that when stretching power net, the holes will close in the direction of greater stretch and will open in the direction of less stretch? Neat!

ANTRON_01I didn’t know what the heck antron was for a long time. The book says it’s “a soft girdle fabric with the larger content being Antron tricot and a small amount of Spandex added for control. This is used in both girdles and bras for the soft, natural look. Usually one size stretches to fit all of the average sizes.” When I purchased Beverly’s manual later, I then learned that it was a fabric that was used decades ago the same way we use tricot today.

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6 Comments

  1. Reply

    Grace

    Oooooo, thank you for sharing!

  2. Reply

    dixie

    I love how it says “lucky you!” at making a girdle. why yes, i do feel lucky that i’m making my own undies. sorry, i just had to lol at that.

    for reals, tho, there’s actually a lot of stuff i hadn’t know before or learned more about just on those few pages you posted. very cool!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I didn’t notice that! Ha, how times have changed.

  3. Reply

    Amy

    I love these old books! I have a couple of these patterns mostly because the illustrations are so cute. Re: Antron – it is a trade name for a type nylon fiber. (Like Supplex and Tactel, it is manufactured by Invista.) In its early days, Antron nylon was used in tricots for lingerie… it doesn’t seem like Antron nylon is used as much in modern lingerie tricots because better nylons have been developed, but from what I’ve learned, the Antron nylon fiber is still used in other weaves or knits–especially for home furnishing textiles. [/end geek textile stuff!]

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I can always rely on you for bits and pieces of priceless information. Jotting this down for sure – thanks for sharing!

  4. Reply

    Ginger

    Ahahahahahaha, the crotch gusset thing-y is really, um, distracting? But this is great information! Lots of the stuff that I’ve read about sewing with stretch fabrics or sewing lingerie is really vague (“use a zigzag stitch”, but they don’t tell you why, or how wide, or when it should change). It’s so nice to read such specific, helpful information!

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