Sewing basics: underwear

As I mentioned in my previous post January has been my sewing basics month, a month of useful and much needed sewing. After some basic knit tops, a pair of denim (Ginger Jeans on my instagram), it was time to spend some time sewing underwear.

Thanks to my recent holidays in Europe I was able to purchase a couple of sewing books, as mentioned previously, and one of them is the recently published book from Milena Sevette, the creator behind Eclipse Lingerie Studio, Mon Atelier Lingerie. I really appreciate the work of Milena, and when I read about her imminent publication I purchased it almost immediately, even if I had to wait to actually read it once in Italy, during my Christmas holidays. If you’re interested in more of her patterns, I previously made the Véga bralette and 3 pairs of Warren boxers for my boyfriend, and I highly highly highly recommend her patterns. Very detailed, easy to understand also for a beginner lingerie sewist.

I’ll start by saying that the book is in french only, while some of her other patterns are also in English, and it retails for 24.95€. It’s organised in four main parts: a theory part with description of lingerie shapes, fabrics and elastics, a technique part with details on how to prepare and cut the fabric, how to use the sewing machine and serger (with details on the types of stitches), how to sew elastics and lace, the projects part with 10 different patterns, and the final part all about adjustments. The size range is 34 to 52 FR, and 80 AA to 115 E for underwire bras, there is a pattern for breast-feeding and adjustments for post mastectomy surgery.

After having read all the theory and technique part I was eager to start some projects. As soon as I came back to the US I started to get ready to test some of the patterns in the book, mainly because I really needed some comfy underwear. I made the culotte (basic version and lace version), the tanga (taille basse in jersey fabric), the high waist brief with lace and the triangle bralette. I made all in size 40 following the measuring chart (my measures are: 90 – 72 – 99). For the versions below I used a cotton spandex jersey from Art Gallery, elastics from Ali express and notions from wawak. The instructions are very clear, detailed, easy to understand and the fit is simply great! I didn’t make any changes to the patterns and they fit very well. I’m not sure I’ll make the bralette again, only because I’m not sure I like this shape on me. Needless to say that it’s supercomfortable.

After this success I decided to use up all the leftover lace and fabric from my Véga to make matching underwear. Also in this case the fit is great and I was able to use up all my leftovers! I particularly love the cut of the high waist lace brief, even if I’ll probably lower the waist for the next version.

I think that this book is perfect for learning to sew lingerie, it contains so many interesting design, but it also guide you to make your own versions of them. I will definitely try the bra without underwires and the underwired version as well, and I’ll report back :). This book is a MUST have for me, and I think that with this I have all the pattern I need for underwear making.

The final underwear project I wanted to try was period underwear. The book has also a pattern for it, but I got the Bloody Mary pattern by Fitiyoo (low waist version) a couple of weeks before buying the book and I really wanted to try it. Also in this case a french brand that I highly recommend and that I tested before. My fabric order for this project included:

  • 1.5 yards of Cotton jersey (enough for 8 pairs). I used the same cotton jersey both as lining and external fabric.
  • Stretch tulle (and here too). I got two types because I used the one with heart for two more absorbing pairs, and the black one for the less absorbing ones. One yard each, which will be enough for 20 pairs 😀
  • PUL. 1 yard, after having cut 6 I still have a LOT left (more than half)
  • Zorb as absorbant layer. 1 yard here too, still a lot left. I made two pairs with 2 layers, and the other 3 with one layer.
  • Fold over elastic. I purchased 10 yards which, enough for 5 pairs.

i never tried period underwear before, but I was always curious to test it, purchasing it might be very expensive, and the first time I looked the average was $30 per pair, while now there are also cheaper versions available. Sewing them made them way cheaper anyway, and I had fun making some which looked a little bit nicer. The Bloody Mary cut is very flattering while being full coverage and comfortable. I tested them already and wow, they work! I used the double layered ones during the first two days of my period, when I needed more absorption. They absorb more than a usual pad and they lasted a good 16 hours without leaks. If you are unsure about trying them, I would say give it a try and I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it!

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