Gretchen Hirsch has come out with a lovely retro slip pattern and a Sew-A-Long to go with it. Since I in no way have been able to keep up with any sew-a-long attempted in the past, I thought I would put together my own plan to start sewing bras and lingerie for a couple of reasons.
First and foremost, the older I get the more my skin reacts badly with synthetic fabrics and threads. Apparently skin allergies are now a new Baby Boomer condition, like Gluten Sensitivities, thanks to modern living. I am also allergic to Nickle and Rhodium metals, and black dyes. (Thank goodness for Organic Mascara!) So it only makes sense that if I want to have a supply of under garments to hold things up in old age, I better get cracking on making my own.
Just as importantly, I think having a better fit makes you feel better over all.
Gertie recently discussed in her blog that under garments do help support the fit of your garment and fine tune the silhouette of the garment on the body. I would like to add while I love all of the funky boxy comfy lounge wear available today, there is something to be said for having a good basic set of lingerie to keep one in touch with a more polished style of dressing from time to time. And, no matter what we wear, women of all ages need a sturdy, comfortable, lovely looking bra!
Well, where to begin on learning these sewing skills?
There are several patterns for bras and lingerie, especially through Kwik Sew and Pamela’s Patterns. I have found that Bra-Making instructions are not always included in Lingerie making books, and the patterns tend to cater to the teen and younger generation of gals. Karen Morris has a good book Sewing Lingerie that Fits, and it does include instructions on how to construct a bra in general.
Years ago I took a fantastic class with Anne St. Claire of Needle Nook Fabrics, and she has a great instruction book on sewing bras that fit using the Elite Bra Patterns She teaches this class around the country and you can find her through the American Sewing Guild or her shop. I think Anne could benefit from some help in keeping her website information current and the only way it seems you can order her book is by calling the store.
Monica Bravo of Bravo Bella Bras not only sells Anne St. Claire’s book and Elite Bra Patterns, she also has two DVDs where she is teaching Bra Fit and Bra Construction!!! She also sells supplies, so give her a try!
I recently pulled out Anne’s book and followed step by step the directions to make an under wire bra with cotton stretch jersey. While I did use Power Net, which is Nylon (oh no!!), I managed to line it inside with the same cotton stretch jersey- Yay!!
The overall fit is very comfortable and this was not difficult at all to construct. All you need to know how to do is a straight stitch and a zig zag! You are able to adjust your straps for the perfect fit just before that final sew. I am definitely going to make more of these and will try to spiff up the basic concept a little with printed cotton fabrics.
Will you try sewing your own bra, too?!
All the best,