Making a bra, making a bra

(to the tune of Breaking The Law)

Months ago, I won an Ohhh Lulu pattern giveaway, over at A Stitching Odyssey. I was over the moon as I’m a HUGE fan of Ohhh Lulu, and the thought of creating my own gorgeous underwear is a happy one. Being the procrastinator I am, and being more than a bit apprehensive about sewing with elastic, it hasn’t happened until now.

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First up I made some more Betty high-waisted knickers. The fabric is a viscose/cotton jersey from Tissu Fabrics, and is really very soft and lovely. It’s leftover from my Hemlock. The elastics are from Merckwaerdigh, I bought them ages ago thinking I would attempt this sooner.

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I’ve made these before, in jersey so I’ve nailed the sizing, they fit perfect, although my elastic application still needs lots of practice. The seams are sewn with a zig zag, and overlocked to finish. No matter how hard I try, I always seem to get wavy elastic. Steaming does help it regain it’s shape, but never fully. I’d love to know if anyone has any tips or tricks. I always measure out the elastic and make sure not to overstretch it, but I rarely get it perfect.

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As for the bra (the Bambi soft bra pattern), I wasn’t so successful. I made this three times, and it still isn’t much cop. I kept making really stupid mistakes with the band elastic, and then I trimmed the back band pieces and didn’t think about the seam allowance on the edges. It was a total mess until the third time, when it all went well. By then I was running out of fabric, and used this silk/cotton mix for the lining. Once I applied the back closure and messed up the straps, the fit was totally off. It’s way too small, and I’m hardly a busty girl. I have a bra from Ohhh Lulu, and I should have checked that first. Its a medium, whereas this is an extra small. The straps really confused me, no matter how many store-bought bras I looked at, I just couldn’t work it out. By this point, I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to fit, and just botched them on and figured I could always re-do them if need be.

Need did not be.

I’m glad I’ve given this a go and been moderately successful. It gives me hope for my next attempt. I’m desperate to sew my own lingerie, but really need to get some practice in. Does anyone else sew their own, or have any top tips for sewing with elastic?

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2 comments

  1. I make my own – also with Ohhh Lulu patterns. And by make my own I mean… I have four pairs of homemade undies (up there with the most comfortable, ever) and I have tried a bra twice – first time I had no straps so used bias binding (wtf) and the band was way too big. Still wore it, but it fits terribly. The second time I made with double knit rather than jersey, it works much better – but I was running out of elastic so just stretched it way too much. I’m pretty sure I ripped out that elastic to try again but not sure where that bra is….

    I am so keen to keep making my own (and don’t want to ever buy undies again if I can help it!) but it’s such a separate skill set it’s going to take me ages to get it all looking good.

    1. I’ve found my own knickers to be more comfortable. I find myself in shops examining crotch width now…
      Double knit is a good idea, I might have to give that a go. I’m still very new to stretch fabrics, so have a lot to learn about sizing down and alterations for certain fabrics.
      It’s definitely going to take a while. I keep getting carried away with ideas before reminding myself I have to master the basics first.

      Have you seen Ohhh Lulu’s new patterns?! I’ve just bought some more knickers and the crossover bra. Can’t wait to print them out and get started.

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