Basic necessities

Push-up longline bra
Push-up longline bra

I’ve often heard that flesh colored underwear is a staple in every women’s wardrobe, which unfortunately I didn’t have any. So this time I stayed clear of my colorful lycra stash and made a couple of basic stuff.

Merckwaerdigh PBH30

The first one was made with Merckwaerdigh PBH30. From the description in Merckwaerdigh’s store: “a lovely mix of an underwired bra, bustier, body and thong body, all with a deep cleavage and pushing the bust up. This pattern requires some experience in handmade lingerie.” 

I was inspired by Amy’s beautiful longline bra and modified this pattern to be a longline too. But instead of widening the band, I used the bustier pattern and shortened it. The lower cup is lined with lycra, it also has a pocket for inserting additional padding if needed. The upper cup is stretch lace finished with picot edge elastic.

Push up bra Push-up longline bra
Push-up longline bra Push-up longline bra

The bridge is also lined with non-stretch lining to completely stabilize it and the back band is strong powernet. All the seams are enclosed inside by sandwiching them between layers when sewing. The side seams have rigilene boning between the double topstitch. Initially I also added boning to the short seams under the cups but they made the bra too rigid and uncomfortable so I took them out.
Strapless bra
Strapless bra

Merckwaerdigh E-STRAP4

Actually I was going to make a matching panties for the bra when I came across this Merckwaerdigh pattern that I’ve never made yet, Merckwaerdigh Strap4. From the description in Merckwaerdigh’s store: “a lovely mix of strapless lingerie : a bra and a bustier – body – thongbody where the underwires are invisible at the outside. These designs can be worn as outer garments as well.” Well I didn’t have a strapless bra so it is time to make one!

Sewing cups for styrapless bra Sewing cups for styrapless bra
The construction of this bra needed padding which I didn’t have. I have tried looking for bra padding locally but never found it. Not to be discouraged, I tried making the padding myself using cotton batting lined with cotton jersey. The padding pieces were cut without seam allowance and basted to the cotton jersey before sewing. The pieces were then butted against each other and stitched together with 3 step zigzag stitch. I covered the seam using tulle strips and again stitched it down with 3 step zigzag stitch. I don’t think I should buy padding anymore!
Strapless bra Push up bra
The construction of the bridge and band are similar to the push-up bra above. The side seams also has rigilene boning between double topstitch. I didn’t have strapless underwires that are longer than regular ones so I lowered the center front for the shorter underwires. I found out that my DIY padding were a bit too thick so next time I should use thinner batting. Lesson learned!

Frankenbra. Muslin testing.

I usually have to shorten the band and narrow the bridge on Pin-Up Girls pattern, but I didn’t have to do them for both of these Merckwaerdigh patterns. Here’s my muslin for the push-up bra. I initially narrowed down the center front, thinking that I would need it. It turned out to be too narrow so I slashed down the center and added back the amount that I have taken. It fits perfectly! So I’m happy to say that I didn’t have to make too many fitting adjustments to both patterns.

I wish I can post a picture of me wearing these bras but you’ve just got to trust my husband who said that I looked spectacular in them! (I think he meant the push-up bra)

I was lucky to have an early preview of a book by Norma Loehr of Orange Lingerie that will be covering the basic of bra fitting and construction. She has also kindly sent me a bra making kit that I have made into these two bras. A lot of bra patterns are made with the assumption that the customer already has a bit of experience in lingerie making so the instructions are quite brief. A book who can cover the basic steps of bra making will be really helpful. I still can’t talk much about this upcoming book, so you will have to wait until Norma releases it, hopefully soon!

Push-up bra pattern is Merckwaerdigh PBH30 size 30D, altered to longline bra.
Strapless bra is Merckwaerdigh Strap4 size 30D, altered to longline bra.

Something new: Making Corset

Have you ever caught something like this? I think it can be called seamstress’ block. These past few weeks I’ve been really wanting to sew something but no idea at all. No, not another dress or skirt or top or pants, I need something new! And my fabric stash is so boring! It didn’t help that the sight of those fabrics made me feel guilty for not wanting them.

After days of browsing for ideas, I stumbled upon corset making. I’m not unfamiliar of wearing one as I wore a medical corset in my teenage years to help my scoliosis. Sadly, it was sort of a traumatic experience. Wearing a full body corset while living in a tropical country is not pleasant to put it mildly. Not to mention the whole teenage and body image thing. But now people often comment on how straight my posture is, so maybe the traumatic experience worth it. My spine is still curved though and I often have back pain.

I don’t want to remember corset as that white, rigid, unpleasant thing that caged my body (and soul) decades ago. From what I’ve seen, (non-medical) corsets are supposed to be pretty and hug your body in a loving way. Not to mention that it can also help posture or relieve back pain. Maybe my handmade corset can help my back pain as well.

Coincidentally I found a pretty Japanese pattern book for corsets, the title is かわいいコルセットstyle, or Cute Corset Style. It was just published several months ago in Japan. As the title suggested, the corsets are indeed very cute worn by doll-like models. Here’s several sneak peeks:
かわいいコルセットstyle (Cute Corset Style)
かわいいコルセットstyle (Cute Corset Style)
かわいいコルセットstyle (Cute Corset Style)
かわいいコルセットstyle (Cute Corset Style)
かわいいコルセットstyle (Cute Corset Style)

The book also list all the materials needed for corset making and step by step pictures. This is something that I love about Japanese pattern books, they always have a lot of pictures and diagrams instead of text. It is really helpful for me as my Japanese skill is laughable (Sidra never laughs at me though, he is very supportive of my half-assed attempt to learn Japanese).
かわいいコルセットstyle (Cute Corset Style)
かわいいコルセットstyle (Cute Corset Style)

So I decided to order a corset making kit from Sew Curvy Corsetry, a UK online shop owned by Julia Bremble. It was delivered very quickly and arrived yesterday in beautifully wrapped package. My kit is Laughing Moon Underbust corset kit, and the content is Laughing Moon Underbust Corset Pattern which includes patterns and instructions for 2 additional corsets,  0.5 m coutil fabric;  flat and spiral steel boning with end caps, boning tape, 1 busk fastener, 1 eyelet kit, stay tape, cotton lacing, and bias binding. Underbust corset will be a good project for a beginner since I don’t have to deal with the bust area!

Sew Curvy Underbust Corset Making kit Sew Curvy Underbust Corset Making kit

I’m still not sure if I will use the underbust pattern from Laughing Moon or from the Cute Corset book. The biggest size on the Cute Corset Book (LL) is equivalent to size 14 on Laughing Moon pattern, while the smallest size (S) is even smaller than size 4 in LM pattern. Not that I’m that small, I don’t have 18″ waist! However I find Japanese pattern usually more suitable in length for my petite body so I don’t have to shorten them. I think I should compare the pattern and decide later which one I want to use!

Velvet Tiramisu dress

Velvet Tiramisu Dress Velvet Tiramisu Dress

After seeing so many pretty versions of this dress -check out this delicious purple number by lladybird-, I’m jumping into the Tiramisu dress bandwagon!

If you haven’t heard about this pattern, this is the first pattern from Steph‘s new pattern line, Sewing Cake. From the description of Tiramisu Dress: “Knit knee-length dress with front surplice (mock wrap) neckline, short kimono sleeves and an easily customizable midriff section. The skirt features in-seam pockets and falls in the soft folds of a vintage half-circle skirt. The pattern includes optional stripes placement guide, cup sizing A-D and a bust alteration line.” It is available as paper patterns on Steph’s Etsy shop and PDF pattern in her Craftsy shop.

Velvet Tiramisu Dress Velvet Tiramisu Dress

I just got back from the store with this stretch velvet in floral pattern, perfect for spring. No patience to wait for the paper pattern to arrive, I bought the PDF version so I can start right away. This pattern uses different sizing than most other pattern companies. Instead of choosing a certain set of sizes, you choose your high bust measurement, corresponding cup measurement, and waist measurement. The combined result is your own personal pattern! As for me, I ended up with size 30D with 25″ waist.

Velvet Tiramisu Dress Velvet Tiramisu Dress

Now I would usually put the list of alterations that I’ve made on a pattern, like swayback adjustment etc. But I didn’t do anything except for shortening the waistband a bit (1.5 cm) and the hem, the dress fits me straight out of the envelope! The dress was made on my overlocker, so it was finished really quickly. I only use sewing machine to attach the pockets and finish the hem using blindstitch. The pattern was printed before lunch and I ended up with a dress in the afternoon. You can see that I’m very happy!

Velvet Tiramisu Dress Velvet Tiramisu Dress

Pattern is Tiramisu Dress (PDF version) size 30D.