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What I’ve Learned From Sewing Lingerie


It’s a fun exercise to look back and reflect on where you once were and where you are now. Embarrassing too. I am one to constantly feel like I’m moving at a snail’s pace, which causes my inner mover and shaker to kick my tush into high gear and learn more, get stronger, be more efficient. I started sewing lingerie three years ago – I think, who’s counting? – and boy, has it been one hell of a learning curve. I made my first pair of underwear on a whim after I saw Amy made a Pepto Bismol pink bra and thought, sheesh, that’s pretty damn cool. My first piece wasn’t a bra, it was a pair of high waisted undies. Hideous – that’s what they were. But we’re all bad when we first start something. Unlucky for me, I shared my bad-ness on this blog. At the time, I didn’t think those panties were that awful, I actually thought they were good, and if I had a flux capacitor, I wouldn’t tell my former self that either.

I’ve learned a lot since, and my style has definitely changed. I think it’s ironic that my eye is first drawn towards the frilly, La Perla type. But what I make and wear isn’t like that. Not at all. It is paired down, refined and modern. Not trying to toot my own horn, it’s just a matter a fact statement.

I put together the gallery below. I started out with a lot of color and pattern, blue taking the lead. Then I made Nicole using a metallic lycra. The shape, the color and everything about it, I loved. This was around the same time I discovered Negative Underwear, a lingerie company with the same modern, simple, refined vibe. I continued this trend and for the most part, I now stick to basic colors – black, white and cream. Never goes out of style. I also stick to super simple silhouettes. It’s not an attempt to make sewing easier, I actually think editing a design is harder than embellishing it. I also really like strappy details, but it must be wearable. I’m not into that whole bondage thing. Scrolling towards the end, there is definitely a consistent style.

I feel like where I’m meant to me – lingerie – at least for right now. Looking back has me excited for where I am to go because I don’t see myself stopping this lingerie kick. Not yet.

So, sit back and enjoy the show! And for additional entertainment, here are the most important lessons I’ve learned sewing lingerie.

  • Not all elastic is created the same. There’s strap, thin, picot/plush, just picot, silicone gripper and many, many more. Each has a particular application and in most cases, can’t be mixed and matched. Don’t use strap elastic for the bottom band. Just don’t.
  • Your lingerie will not be a slingshot, so don’t stretch the elastic as if it is while sewing.
  • Picot elastic, the kind use for the top of panties, makes for a great headband. Wrap a strip around your head to get the right width, pin in place, and then use a straight stitch to secure. Last, trim.
  • If you’re going to post photos of you in your lingerie, start doing your squats and crunches. Like everyday. Pronto. Jillian Michaels style.
  • Technically, bras can be made out of a woven, but I don’t recommend it. I’ve tried and failed. The fit is never as forgiving as a bra made fabric with a little stretch (read: more stretch than the bias).
  • I’ve had most success rubbing off RTW lingerie than using home sewing patterns. I buy two sets. For one, I will take apart one side – that side will be used for trace the pattern – and the other will be used for a reference when sewing. For the other, I keep it in tact, and after sewing my me-made, I wear both and compare and contrast fit.
  • Fabric choice is super important. You MUST use fabric with good recovery or else you will end up with a bra that is wonky after sewing. The elastic takes charge and stretches it out of shape. If you can’t resist using that oh-so-pretty-but-not-supportive-fabric, then line it with a fabric that does have great recover. It will show the self fabric whose boss.



  1. Reply


    Ufffff I will forever love the Amber Rosalind~

    • Reply


      It is a great bra! I brought it to all my workshops as an example.

  2. Reply


    This post is daunting (because of all the jargons) yet alluring all mashed up in 1 emotion! Makes me feel like i want to jump right in to learn how to sew lingerie yet scared of it at the same time. And btw, everything just looks ammmazzzing!!!

  3. Reply


    That is a great post and bunch of good advices for beginners lke me 🙂
    I just LOVE Nicole Warner, I definitely have to make one sporty bralette like that, actually I was thinking to trace a pattern about my RTW sport bralette and see what’s happening 🙂

    • Reply


      You’ll have a lot more success rubbing off a pattern than trying to draft one yourself – just my two cents.

      • Reply


        🙂 I do hope so! And what do you think about merging an outer cup – inner cup piece into one cup with princess seam (starting the fullest point / nipple point)? Is it possible? Because I’ve seen a beautiful soft bra and I want to try this out. (this one: http://angelafriedman.com/bras/natalie-longline-bra) But I don’t have one-cup pieces. 🙁

  4. Reply

    Ana Marçal

    This is really inspiring! Thank you for the round up 😉
    One can see your style adjustment process through the photos! And your first undies were not that bad, but you managed to improve the fit quite a lot 😉


  5. Reply


    Your sewing is very inspiring! I really appreciate all the work that you put into learning techniques and sharing tips. Even just sharing pictures of what you have sewn helps me to think maybe I could try it too! God bless!

  6. Reply

    Abbey (abbeydabbles)

    Oh wow… seeing them altogether like this? You are truly amazing Maddie!

  7. Reply


    Isn’t it funny how there are some things that can only be learned through experience, even if we research and research beforehand. I’m glad for you that you’ve found a more refined, “you” style and derive so much pleasure from lingerie making.

    I must disagree about the squats comment – I am happy to see bodies of all shapes and sizes displaying their beautiful handmade lingerie, and frankly, how slim they are or how much exercise they perform is irrelevant.

  8. Reply


    Gorgeous stuff!

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