Hello! Welcome to my 1st Tutorial for Simplicity! I’m a Simplicity Sewing Expert!!! What a Title eh?!
I’ve waited to post this on my Blog till both parts of my Tutorial was live on the Simplicity Blog.
I can finally share the beauties I’ve made!! As you will know I am an Instagram addict and have many postings of my sewing adventures and for me not to post a single thing on the construction of this was extremely hard!
What an honour when Simplicity asked me to provide a Tutorial for them! You can’t say no to such a Well Known Pattern House! When they asked me to shortlist 3 patterns to write a tutorial for, I came across the usual dress I like to sew, jersey top and then this interesting pattern by Mandalynne aka Maddie Flanigan that caught my attention! So of course I added it to my shortlist and when they came to back to me and told me they had picked the Bra and Knickers Set, I was excited and then nervous at the same time, how can I live up to Maddie’s exceptional Lingerie Sewing Skills?!! For some reason I do love to chuck myself into the deep end don’t I?!
With the good thing about this pattern is that it starts at Size 32A to 42DD and Knicker Size XS-XL so this is a good all rounder pattern that will fit many people 🙂
Now then! First open up the envelope and make yourselves a brew and read the instructions and make a list of materials/equipment you need if you don’t have them already so no last minute dash to the local haberdashery store or waiting days for online orders! There isn’t anything worse than you wanting to get on with sewing when you can’t!
1.5m of Bra Lining Mesh Fabric
5m of Pink Plush Picot Elastic
0.5m of Bra Casing aka Channeling
Odif 505AD Temporary Adhesive Spray – This stuff is the bee’s knee’s!! Why I haven’t come across this till now I’ll never know! It is a definite must when making lingerie! It makes life sooo much easier 🙂
Ballpoint Needle – I used size 80/15
1/4″ Quilter’s foot to get that spot on 1/4″ Seam Allowance 🙂
Normal Sewing Foot
Pins and Weights
Mini Clips – You’ll see why later 🙂
Measuring Tape and Ruler
Rotary Cutter and Cutting Mat
After debating or not to pre-wash my fabric like I would normally do with constructing clothing, I decided not to as a lot of people said it could distort the fabric and make it harder to work with and to wash the bra/knickers after construction, so I’m following that route 🙂 but of course its down to personal preference but I’d thought I would throw caution to the wind!
Now to find your perfect Bra size:
On the Instructions it will give you a Chart with measurements to calculate the Bra size you need to cut out. Please don’t refer to your normal Ready to Wear Bra sizing as i normally take a 32DD from retailers and if I had cut and sewn that it would have no way of fitted me!
My Under Chest Measurement fell into the 36 band Size Measurement and Fullest Chest Measurement fell into the D Cup Size.
Now you have your Bra Size, cut out the Pattern pieces you require, I have made Halter Bra A and I only need Pieces 1,2 and 3. Thankfully Simplicity has made this easy for you and have labelled each back size individually with the required pieces for each Bra! Yes!
The Knicker sizing is just down to your Waist Measurement and my Measurement was smack in the middle of the Medium so I cut that one out. If you are unsure of the sizing, I would make the size in a toile to make sure the fit would be okay. But I’m lucky enough know from previous experience of Simplicity Patterns that the Medium would be okay.
The Knickers require Pieces 12,13,14,15,16,17 and 18.
Warning! (sirens go off!) This step is the most important! The Lace and the Mesh are treated as one Fabric so you must follow the steps below to prepare the fabric;
For ease of use, Cut the mesh into strips that cover the pattern pieces like I’ve shown below, so one mesh piece to cover one set of the Bra pieces, another for the other set of Bra pieces then one Piece to cover the Band.
Then cut the Gallon lace to the same sizes of the pieces of mesh then get ready to get messy hahahaha!
Now make sure you have a mat or some newspaper or ought to cover your surfaces as this Spray Adhesive is quite sticky!
Spray the Mesh evenly, from one edge to the other and place the wrong side of the Gallon Lace over the Mesh so that the right Side of the lace is facing you and to make sure that the inner points of the scallops are even with the raw edge of the mesh like I’ve shown here:
Now to get the pattern pieces cleanly cut, I’ve used my own handmade weights out of polymer clay or anything that is heavy will do as long it wont shift your pattern piece about whilst cutting. Also used a Rotary Cutter too as it’ll be quite hard to get that perfect clean cut otherwise.
Now your thinking maybe if the fold the lace/mesh fabric Right Sides Together, I would get my pattern pieces cut out in no time. Personally, I wouldn’t like to risk it, I cut out my pieces all in one layer….yes it may be time consuming but at least you know it has been cut out with care with a nice clean edge 🙂
Just a little tip when cutting out the Bra Pattern Pieces out as they as one set is cut out with the pattern piece face down and the other is pattern piece facing up. I placed a piece of fabric round the face Down Pattern Pieces so i knew which was which.
For the Bottom Band, Line up your inner Scallops to the Raw edge of the mesh as you don’t need to worry about matching the rest as it will be cut away.
Then you should have the following Pieces for constructing the Bra, together with the haberdashery bits:
Hurray! now onto sewing the Halter Neck Bra!
Remember the Seam Allowance is 1/4″ or 6mm if you use Metric system until otherwise told so in the Instructions. That’s why I’ll be using my Quilter’s foot as that is just made for 1/4″ Seams so you just keep to the edge of the foot 🙂
Step 1. With Right Sides Together, pin the Cup Front (Pattern Piece 1) to Cup Side Front (Pattern Piece 2), remembering to match up the dots and notches and stitch in place and press the Seam towards the centre. Repeat for other set of Bra Pieces.
Step 2. With the Right Side of the Bra Facing you, Top Stitch the Cup front using a 3cm wide Zig Zag Stitch or Straight Stitch ( I prefer Zig Zag) away from the initial Seam in Step 1 but to make sure it catches the Seam Allowance and that it doesn’t look ugly (Remember to use your Normal Sewing foot!)– To Help guide you, I’ve placed my seam to the split in my normal sewing foot and that the Zig Zag Stitch will be close enough to the seam but will catch the outer edge of it like this shown below and repeat for other Cup Front.
Step 3. Cut a Piece of the Lingerie elastic to the length of the Cup Front Edge, on the Inside (The Wrong Side Facing you) place the elastic along the mesh edge and sew though the centre of the Elastic using (3mm wide) Zig Zag Stitch.
Cut another Piece of the Lingerie elastic to the length of the Cup Side Front Edge, on the Inside (The Wrong Side Facing you) place the elastic along the mesh edge and sew though the centre of the Elastic using (3mm wide) Zig Zag Stitch. Repeat for other Set. So you will have 2 Cups with Elastic sewn down both sides.
Step 4. Cut a Piece of Plush Picot Elastic to the length of the underarm edge of the bridge to the end of the band like shown here:
On the Outside (Right Side Facing you), place the elastic on the underarm edge, having the flat edge of the elastic match the raw edge of the lace/mesh. Stitch as close as you can to the Picot edge using a (3cm)Zig Zag stitch, stretching the elastic slightly as you sew.
Step 5. Turn the Elastic to the Inside (wrong Side of the Fabric). Stitch the Elastic close to the inner edge using the same Zig Zag Stitch as in Step 4.
Look at the nice Picot edging!
Step 6. With The Right Sides Together, pin the Bra Cups to the Bridge and Band, matching the centres and small dots. Switch back to your Quilter’s Foot as you’ll be need 1/4″ Seam Allowance. Then Stitch from one end to the Centre. Then Stitch from the other end to the Centre. Remembering to keep the outer edges of the cup away from the Seam Allowance.
Step 7. Cut two pieces of the Channeling to the length of the Lower Edge of the Bra Cup Seam Allowance. On the Inside (Wrong Side Facing you) pin the inner edge of the Channeling to the Seam Allowance close to the Seam Line. Stitch close to the inner edge of the Channeling. Then start sewing from one edge to the centre and repeat for the other side, the Channeling will overlap at the Centre Front.
Step 8. Press the Seam and Channeling towards the Bridge. On the Outside (Right Side Facing you), Top Stitch away from the Seam, Stitching through all layers and catching the Channeling on the inside.
Step 9. Close the Channeling by using a Zig Zag stitch across it at the centre front and the underarm (Remember to use your Normal Sewing foot!). Trim the Channeling so that its flush with the underarm edge, being careful not to cut through the Lace or Picot.
Step 10. Now to add the Hook and Eye Fastener. Open out the opening of the Eye end of the Fastener. Slip in 1/2″ (1.3cm) of the Left Band into the Open end of the Fastener with the Eyes on the Outside (They are facing you). Stitch close to the opening edge of the fastener through all thicknesses (Fastener and Lace/Mesh).
Open out the Hook end of the Bra Fastener, Again, Slip 1/2″ (1.3cm) of the Right band into the open end of the Fastener with the Hooks on the Inside (Facing Away from you). Stitch close to the opening edge of the fastener through all thicknesses (Fastener and Lace/Mesh)
Step 11. Try on the Bra. Make any adjustment at the Centre Back Neck Seam, if necessary. I needed too upon trying it on and I took 1″ 3/4 off each side. With Right Sides Together, stitch the Centre Back Neck Seam. Trim the seam 1/4″ (6mm) if necessary ( I did anyways I felt it give it a better finish after Step 12.)
Step 12. On the Outside (Right Side Facing you) Top Stitch using a Zig Zag stitch close to the Seam (Remember to use your Normal Sewing foot!) and that it covers the edge of the Seam Allowance for a Neat and tidy Finish.
And Voila! Here is one Super Comfy Soft Bra as modelled by Dorris the Mannequin. I’m sorry but I don’t think the world is ready to see my goodies on show I may break the internet.
One down and one to go! Now onto the Knickers or for the American friends Panties!
Thankfully you don’t have to do the fiddly construction of treating the Lace and Mesh as one. So you need the Lace for Pattern Pieces 14 and 16, Stretch Jacquard Simplex Tricot for Pieces 12 and 15 and a small amount of 100% Cotton Jersey for the Gusset. Pattern Pieces 17 and 18 are just Guides for the Leg and Waist Elastic.
I would recommend cutting the Leg and Waist Elastic now as it just saves cutting out things again once you’ve already cut out the fabrics 🙂
Then your Knicker Supplies should look like this ready to sew!
Step 1. Zig zag stitch the Front edges of the Knickers front (Pattern Piece 12) and Upper edges of Knickers Back (Pattern Piece 15) – Remember to use your Normal Sewing foot!. This is to finish the edges to stop them fraying and to also give it a nice professional finish. I’ve used the following stitch length and wide:
Step 2. On the Outside (Right Side Facing you) place the Wrong Side of the Lace Panels, Knickers Side Front (Pattern Piece 14) to the Right Side of Knicker Front, lapping Front Edge of the Side Front over the Front, matching the 1/4″ (6mm) Seam Allowance. Pin, placing pins on the Outside (The Right Side Facing you) and making sure you catch both the Lace and the Knicker Fabric. Stitch along the Seam Line using a 1/8″ (3mm) Wide Zig Zag Stitch or Straight Stitch.
*Just to help you a little tip I found to get the straight Seam Line for Step 2. I transferred my pins to the other side (Inside/Wrong Side facing you) so that edge of the Knicker fabric was visible and a lot easier to get the straight Seam Line.*
Step 3. Right Sides Together, stitch the Centre Back Seam of the Knickers Side Back (Pattern Piece 16)- Remember to use your Normal Sewing foot!. Press the Seam towards one side.
Step 4. On the Outside (Right Side facing you), Switch back to your Normal Sewing Foot and Top Stitch using a Zig Zag stitch close to the Seam so that it covers the edge of the Seam Allowance underneath for a Neat and tidy Finish.
Step 5. Place the Wrong Side of the Knickers Side Back (Pattern Piece 16) to the Right Side of the Knickers Back (Pattern Piece 15). lapping Lower Back edge of the Side Back over the Back, matching the Centres and matching the 1/4″ (6mm) Seam Allowance. Pin, placing pins on the Outside (The Right Side Facing you) and making sure you catch both the Lace and the Knicker Fabric. Stitch along the Seam Line using a 1/8″ (3mm) Wide Zig Zag Stitch or Straight Stitch. Refer to my helpful tip after Step 2 if you need a little assistance to get it aligned. Also when you get to the Centre V remember to stop sewing before you get to the end and keep your needle in the fabric, Lift up the Foot and Pivot your fabric to continue to sew on the other side.
Step 6. Zig Zag stitch the front un-notched edge of the Crotch lining (Pattern Piece 13) – Remember to use your Normal Sewing foot! This is to the finish the edge.
Step 7. With Right Sides Together, Place the Knicker Back over Knicker front at the Crotch Seam Line, matching the notches, making sure the Raw Edges are even.
Step 8. Stitch the Front to the Back at the Side Seam, using a Straight Stitch then finish with a Zig Zag stitch close to the raw edges of the Seam Allowance then press the Seam toward the Front of the Knickers.
Step 9. Press the Crotch lining and pin to the Inside of the Knicker front, placing the Pins on the Outside and making sure that the Raw edges are even.
On the Outside (Right Side of the Knickers) place the elastic on the Leg Edge, having the flat edge of the elastix extend by 1/8″ (3mm) beyond the outer edge, making sure you have the plush side of the elastic Facing you and lapping the ends by 1/2″ (1.3cm) at the Back just above the Crotch Seam.
* Tip time! Start at the Overlap part at the Crotch Seam then Pin then find the middle by folding the Elastic in half and finding the halfway mark on the kickers by folding them too then pin the Elastic. I just find it easier to insert knicker Elastic this way to make sure it evenly placed.*
Stitch close to the Picot Edge, using a 1/8″ (3mm) Wide Zig Zag Stitch being careful not to stretch the Elastic as you sew.
Step 10. Turn the elastic to the Inside. Stitch the elastic Close to the Inner edge using the Zig Zag Stitch.
Step 11. Cut a piece of the Plush Picot elastic the Length of the Knicker Waist Elastic Guide (Pattern Piece 17). Or as we prepared earlier at the beginning, Blue Peter Style!
Apply the Elastic to the Waistline in the same manner as for the legs and have the Elastic lap at one of the Side Seams.
Oh there you go!!! You now have a matching Bra and Knickers lovingly made by you!! Well of course these we made by moi!
Now then! Taking on your on own Lingerie is not as scary as you think is it?! I am really pleased of the outcome for both of them! To say I’ve not really used Lace to sew with it was quite easy to sew with as my Mr Singer does like to eat finer fabric but he has behaved for a change!
I can see myself making more of these as they are simple to do once you have made one and made it to fit you 🙂 These will be my sleep wear for bed, Yes they are that comfy!!
A very Big Thank you to Kellie at The Sewing Chest for providing me the lovely materials to make this set! She is fantastic, if you need any advice she’s the woman to go too and very speedy delivery too!
Now, I hope this Tutorial has shown you that it’s not as daunting as you think to make your own.