Bra Making Terms Explained: What’s Inside a Madalynne Lingerie Sewing Kit
If you want to get into the world of lace and lingerie and start making your own bras, bralettes and underwear, trying a kit is a great place to start. However, just like there is medical jargon, there is lingerie jargon. Unless you’ve researched or dabbled in the world of handmade lingerie, you’ll have no idea what the heck picot elastic is and when you’re supposed to use 3/8″ versus 3/4″. If you’ve purchased a Madalynne DIY lingerie kit, and those are the types of questions you’re asking yourself, this guide is for you. While there are a TON of other lingerie trims available on the market, this is limited to what is inside a Madalynne DIY lingerie kit. Again, my goal is to not make you feel overwhelmed, but simplify and make the process of me-made lingerie fun and rewarding!
1. MAIN FABRIC: This is the fabric that you will use for the outer layer of lingerie. For the blush pink Barrett bralette kit, this will be the pink stretch mesh, and for the Swiss dot kit, it will be the Swiss dot. In the product listing of each kit, it will say what the outer layer of fabric should be.
2. LINING FABRIC: This is the fabric used to line the bra and/or the underwear. In all Madalynne kits, this is a nude stretch mesh and you will have to refer to the pattern to know which pieces should be lined. If you’re looking for more stability, you can purchase sheer cup lining in the sewing supplies section of the webshop.
3. PICOT PLUSH ELASTIC 3/8″ : Elastic to finish armholes, necklines, and the top of back bands. It has one plush (or velvety) side and one non plush side. On the finished lingerie piece, the plush side should be against your body to absorb body oils. Also, on the finished lingerie piece, the picot side should “peak out” of the bra or the underwear. Need a tutorial on how to apply elastic? Check out this tutorial for a step by step guide.
4. PICOT PLUSH ELASTIC 3/4″: This is the exact same type of elastic as above (3/8″), but wider. It’s intended use is to finish the bottom band of a bra/bralette, such as in the yellow rib knit Barrett bralette. I don’t suggest to use this wide elastic to finish an armhole.
5. SHINY SHOULDER STRAP ELASTIC: Elastic used for the straps of a bra. In most cases, strap elastic and picot elastic are not interchangeable. They have different stretch percentages (strap elastic is usually firmer). So if you run out of picot elastic and have extra strap elastic, don’t sub. The exception to this is when strap elastic is being used for decorative purposes. The strap elastics in Madalynne kits have one shiny side and one non shiny/matte side. On the finished lingerie piece, the shiny side should be visible. Strap elastic can be tricky to make – check out this tutorial for a step by step guide.
6. PLUSH CHANNELING: Channeling is used to hold, or “encase” the underwires. It is sewn onto the cup/wire seam and stabilizes this seam. Even if you’re not using underwires, you should sew the channeling onto the bra. Channeling has one plush side and on the finished lingerie piece, this should be against the body. Something I didn’t know when I first started sewing lingerie – the underwire goes inside the channeling, not in between the channeling and the fabric.
7. NARROW ELASTIC: This is used to finished scallop edges of lace, such as on the top of the bra cup on the Madalynne X Simplicity 8229. It is very tricky to sew, and the suggestion I have is to go slow. Remember, lingerie sewing isn’t a marathon. Take your time!
9. HOOK + EYE 2X3: Closure at the back of the bra to securely fasten. If looking at the bra from behind, the eyes should be on the left and the hooks should be on the right side. One side is soft/fuzzy and this side should be against the body on the finished lingerie piece. For smaller cup sizes (A-C), I suggest a 2 x 3 hook and eye. You CAN use a 3 x 3 if you want to though – it’s a personal preference. I like using a 3 x 3 on the Madalynne X Simplicity 8229.
10. HOOK + EYE 3X3: Same as above, but wider. It has 3 rows of hooks and eyes instead of 2. Both have 3 columns. I suggest a 3 x 3 hook + eye for larger cup sizes (C and above), but again, if you’re a large cup size and want to use the 2 x 3, go for it. All Madalynne kits include both the 2 x 3 and 3 x 3 so that you have a choice.
11. RINGS + SLIDERS: Used to make bra straps. They are available in metal and nylon, but all Madalynne kits have metal rings and sliders.
If there is a particular kit you’re interested and would like to purchase additional picot or strap elastic, most are listed separately in the sewing supplies section of the webshop.