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.