So by now, you have your fabric. You literally only need about half a meter, and some stretch lace if you are using it. It doesn't matter what colour - that is where it gets good, you can literally be inspired by anything! But what you will need to know now, is all the other parts of your bra and panties that you will need. There are so many lingerie notion stores to use but when you are just getting started stick to companies like www.sewingchest.co.uk, and www.minerva.com. My other big passion is Etsy. Check out shops including Evie la luve DIY and the lingerie making shop - all of which carry an excellent selection.
It can be mind-boggling at first so today we will have a look at the bits you will need - trust me, it makes life so much easier.
The other thing to note is that if you just want to make one bra and want to keep it simple, you can buy a kit - my only a bit of advice is that they prove quite expensive and you don't get to completely create your own makes, you have to rely on what is in the kit. It is well worth a look and is a good place to start if it all seems a bit too much.
Let's start off with the mesh and structure of your new bra.
The backing to a soft bralette comes from a super soft and flexible 4 way stretch mesh. These literally come in every colour under the sun. I always carry a nude, black and white version - because let's face it, what else would you need. But if I am adding a cheeky pop of colour or a hint of sheer these are perfect.
Here is the vibrant blue I used to back my Blue stretch satin bra which I will add to the bottom for you to see the finished article.
All these super-soft stretch mesh fabrics are stocked in fabriques shop so go on over and take a look!
The next material you will need, but in a much smaller piece - is Power Net. A much firmer and structured bra net with less stretch, to give support and shape around the back strap. This can be pricey but you literally only need a piece the size of two backbands - so not a lot at all.
Once you have this sorted, you are on to the elastics, and this is where it gets good. Your imagination reigns supreme here. I always try to be creative with colour combinations - but it really doesn't matter. My, advise - to go with what you love!
All the pattern companies will give you a list of what you need but if you know what you're looking for - it will certainly make your life a whole lot easier.
You will need:
Fold Over Elastic
The colours of elastic available now are simply epic. For this blog, I have picked a glorious riot of colour. A bright pink and pale baby pink to compliment each other and the fabrics and lace I have selected. This is an elastic literally designed to be folded as its sewn. It usually needs two passes with the sewing machine if the section is longer than about 10 cms. These are inexpensive and a great way to add your own personality.
The next elastic is Pico Plush Elastic
This comes in different widths so make sure you read your pattern. My favourite and the one I have selected for the bottom of my Darcey Bralette is this beautiful bright pink castle top Pico Elastic. It is plush on one side which eventually will lie flat against your body and simple elastic on the other. The pico section is designed to peep out under the bottom of your bra where is meets your ribs. It is also very similar to knicker elastic, so if you buy a narrowish one it can double up.
It is super important to check your pattern instructions - trust me, it is very VERY annoying when the finished garment looks odd simply because you didn't read your pattern properly.
Again these come in a crazy array of colours, but try to co-ordibate to prevent your undies looking all a bit mismatched.
The last elastic you will need is the Strap Elastic
This is the bra strapping we have all become accustomed too. It literally comes in any colour you can think of - and if you can't find the colour you need, there are companies who can dye it for you too. I always like the shiny elastic, but it is available in matt, ruffled and patterned too.
Remember that you need to use the strap elastic recommended, the pattern drafters spend a huge amount of time, planning and accommodating certain sizes. As you get more efficient or as you get better at all this, you can alter it. But importantly here, you need to get the corresponding rings and sliders for your size of strap. Here I have selected rose gold - for no other reason than I love it!
Just in case you want to mix it up a bit, you can get black white or a myriad of colours, metal and plastic too.
Remember you need to read your pattern for the quantities of each.
Finally, the last thing you will need is a bra fastener. I'm sure by now you have got the picture - but be brave and be coordinated! Trust me - you will love it more!
Then gather everything together and make sure your patterns are ready.
My bralette pattern of choice is Darcey Bralette. Created by an amazing pattern designer Hannah, who created Evie La Luve. Her patterns are great value for money and have a glorious selection of bras and panties.
........and to go with it I am creating the Chloe thong, another of her brilliant patterns.
These are PDF patterns, and importantly you will need to remember to download them from a PC or laptop because if you use a mobile or tablet devise it doesn't save properly. Read all the instructions, print off the pages you need and then cut out the size you will be using. And then you are ready to sew up your first set of lingerie.
Another suggestion I have is to make up a version of your pattern in a cheaper fabric. Maybe try a lightweight viscose jersey before you cut into your bamboo jersey - it will save you a lot of heartaches.
In Part 3 I will walk you through the process of sewing up. I will show you the places where I found it hard, and the ways which I have learnt to make sure things go well.
See you all soon.