When I talk about sewing my own bras and panties, one of the comments I hear most often is, “I can’t do that, I don’t have a serger!”
Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need a serger to sew knits! Is it nice to have a serger? Of course! But, if I can be honest, most of the time I don’t use a serger when sewing panties; the raw edges are usually (but not always) covered with elastic and only the side seams have exposed edges. Since I can sew a basic pair of panties in under half an hour, it doesn’t seem worth the trouble changing out the threads on my serger.
So, if not a serger, do you need any special stitches? The answer is yes, and I’ll bet your machine has them! Below I’ll share the two essential stitches needed to sew your own bras and panties, and two other stitches that are nice to have.
Do you ever find the perfect lace trim for a project only to find that it is too narrow? It has happened to me a few times now, and I wanted to share a trick with you. Using a zigzag stitch (and a bit of patience and slow sewing) you can join strips of lace together to make a wider lace.
For my first Knicker November project, I wanted to make a pair of Daisy Briefs to match a new bralette. I have decided to combine both Style B & D, so I need some lace overlays for the sides. As you can see in the photo above, my lovely coral lace is just a bit too narrow for the pattern piece.
Here, I have laid two strips of lace side by side. With the scallops perfectly aligned, there are big gaps at the lowest points in the lace.
But if I offset the lace, with the big scallops over the lowest points, it fills in the gaps much better.
Slightly overlap the lace. I have it laying on my cutting mat, but you might want to do this while you are at your sewing machine. It is a bit difficult to pin the layers, so you won't want to move very far with the lace.
Use a medium width zigzag, centered over the overlap. Be careful not to stretch the lace while you are sewing, so that you don't get any ripples. In the photo above you can just barely see my stitching. A bit of steam from the iron will help the lace lay very flat; be careful not to have the temperature too high!
Here are my pattern pieces cut out.
Here it is all sewn up! My first pair of panties for Knicker November! I think it looks good, and I don't think the join is very obvious.
Have you ever wanted to use a lace that was too narrow for a project? How did you solve the problem? Happy Sewing!
Today I made a bra fitting band following the instructions on the Merckwaerdigh blog. A bra fitting band serves two purposes:
1. When first fitting a bra pattern, after finding the correct wire, the next step is to fit the band. It is easier to fit the bra in steps than try to fit the underwire, band and cups all at the same time.
2. Even though I now have a well-fitting bra pattern, I want to try out different bra cup designs, and rather than make an entire bra every time I make a style change, I can sew up a single cup to check the design and fit.
To begin, cut out the bridge, cradle, and back band pieces. Since this is only for fitting, I cut a single layer of simplex for the bridge and cradle and didn't bother with lining.
Sew the elastics on as usual. This would be a good opportunity to use up scraps, and you could zigzag together shorter pieces if necessary. I didn't happen to have any scraps in the correct widths, so I just used white.
If I was sewing a regular bra, the next step would be to sew the channeling to the cup/cradle seam allowances. Since I don't have a cup, I marked out the seam allowance on the cradle and sewed the channeling below the markings. I sewed the channeling to the inside of the bra, but it could work on the outside as well. Finish the underarm elastic as usual. As you can see in the picture below, I inserted the wires and closed the channeling at the center front. Don't do that! As soon as I started to sew on a tester bra cup I realized the underwire would be in the way (duh) and I had to unpick the seam. So leave one end of each channeling open.
And here is the fitting band on my dress form. The straps are just pieces of elastic, I figured it would be simpler to pin the front of the straps to the cups and didn't bother with rings and sliders.
Now the new cup styles. My self-drafted bra has horizontal cup seams, and I wanted to try both vertical and diagonal seams.
I cut and sewed one cup in each style, with the vertical seam as a right cup and the diagonal seam as a left cup.
After removing the underwires from the channeling, I basted the cups into my fitting band, keeping in mind that extra seam allowance would stick out at the underarm edge that would normally be finished with elastic. Looks like I forgot to add seam allowance to the neck edge of the vertical cup. Oops! Now pop the underwires back in and try it on.
My dress form is not as squishy as I am, and doesn't have as much lower cup fullness as I do. The diagonal seam cup fits me very well and doesn't seem to need any changes. There is some weirdness in the fit of the vertical seam cup. Horizontal wrinkles in the lower part of the cup seem to indicate not enough room, and the bulging above the apex means there is too much curve in the seam. Looks like I have some alterations to work on!
I design lingerie sewing patterns for everyday comfort and feminine style in an inclusive size range. Fill up your underwear drawer with beautiful custom made panties in your favorite fabrics and trims, designed to fit your body.