Fenway Bra Sewing Inspiration

Thank you for the enthusiastic response to the Fenway bra sewing pattern! I love the possibilities of all the different bras you can make with this new style. I thought I would share some of my inspiration to give you ideas for making your own Fenway bra.

 

Inspiration for Sewing Your Own Fenway Bra by Orange Lingerie

 

Starting on the left hand side above, there are some great ideas in this pair of bras from Lonely Lingerie. In the black bra, a virtual upper cup is created using strap elastic that originates at the underwire casing on either side of the cup. There is also another strap that extends from the lower cup center seam (you can click through to Journelle to see this on a model). It may take a bit of playing around to get the length of that center elastic piece just so, but what a fun project!

Both Lonely Lingerie bras make use of a lace scallop edge for the lower cup. This could be done as an overlay, concealing the lower cup to upper cup seam as pictured in the yellow bra. Given the curves of the Fenway bra lower cup it may involve some lace piecing to get the same effect.

Sticking with the lace theme (because who does not love lace?!), the ID Sarrieri bra, pictured in the bottom right corner, uses a beautiful lace scallop edge for the neckline. This can be done with a simple pattern change. Just straighten out the neckline and then cut the neckline edge of the upper cup aligned with the valley of the lace scallops. I like to see that they stabilized the lace neckline and you should definitely do the same if you make a version like this one!

Finally, in the upper right hand corner is a bra by Lou Lingerie. (This is the same style as the headline image for this post.) I like the use of a print fabric with a fun trim along the neckline. Keep in mind that if you want to use a trim on your Fenway instead of fold over elastic, you will need to alter the pattern by adding a trim allowance to those areas. My bra sewing patterns all have the seam allowances and trim lines clearly marked so you can see where you need to make the adjustment!

Which version are you going to try next? Be sure to tag your Fenway bras with #fenwaybra so everyone can find yours!

 

P.S. I have heard from many of you who want an expanded size range for the Fenway bra! The more requests I receive the more likely it is that I will work on that project! 

The Fenway Bra by Orange Lingerie this version in Polka Dot Silk with Tulle

Another New Bra Sewing Pattern!

The Fenway Bra by Orange Lingerie this version in Polka Dot Silk with TulleIntroducing the Fenway bra!

As you may guess from the name, this style was inspired by baseball and because today is the home opener at Fenway Park in Boston, I have been waiting until today to release this pattern!

I first started thinking about his bra style when a foul ball unexpectedly fell into my lap at a ball game. I was inspired by the curves and stitching detail on the ball and started thinking about what a baseball inspired bra would look like.

Baseball Inspiration from Orange Lingerie

I knew for sure that I wanted a curvy lower cup shape, which I was able to get by removing the frame of the bra. The rest of the style elements – the triangle upper cup and the fold over elastic – contribute to an overall fresh and sporty look, all of which seem to say “baseball” to me.

Close Up of Round Lower Cup on the Fenway Bra by Orange Lingerie

This is my first frameless design; that is, the cups are not set into a frame but are attached to separate band and bridge pieces. This means the construction is a bit different when applying the underwire casing. Of course, as usual, I have fully illustrated instructions to walk you through the process.

Frameless Cup of the Fenway Bra by Orange Lingerie

As mentioned, this bra uses fold over elastic to finish the upper edges of the bra for a fun and sporty finish. If you have shied away from using fold over elastic in the past, fear not – my instructions include a super simple method to attach that trim! I am convinced that the fold over elastic is the reason why this bra sews up faster than any of my other styles!

Side View of the Fenway Bra by Orange Lingerie

I used a sheer fabric for the upper cup for the initial samples. I am just loving the play of the sheer and the opaque right now. Of course, because this is sewing and you get to make what you want, you do not have to use a sheer contrast! You can be sure that I will be making several Fenway variations over the coming months and sharing them on Instagram.
Close Up of Bra Tulle Upper Cup on Fenway Bra by Orange Lingerie
In terms of sizing, the initial range for the Fenway bra is 30A to 40DD. However, I am considering working on an expanded range for this style. As with my previous bra sewing patterns, the key determinants for developing a larger size range are sufficient demand and the ability to create proper support with similar styling as the original design. What this means is that if you want to see a larger size range for the Fenway bra, be sure to let me know!

Buy the Fenway Bra Pattern Now!

How to Move Marlborough Bra Straps on the Orange Lingerie Blog

How to Move Straps on the Marlborough Bra

How to Move Marlborough Bra Straps on the Orange Lingerie BlogWhen I posted the tutorial “How to Move Straps for a Better Fitting Bra” I used the Boylston bra sewing pattern for my example. Afterwards I was asked for the same tutorial for the Marlborough bra sewing pattern. Well, ask and you shall receive!

While it is slightly more complicated to move the straps on the Marlborough bra, the same principles apply. To better see the change let’s first align the pieces that comprise the upper cup area at their seam lines. How to Move Marlborough Bra Straps on the Orange Lingerie Blog

 

Looking at the above you can see that to move the straps that attach to the top of the power bar we will need to do the following:

  • Redraw the power bar seam line where it joins to the upper cup.
  • Redraw the outer edge of the power bar.
  • Redraw the upper cup to power bar seam line.
  • All while not changing the lower cup to power bar seam line to maintain needed cup volume.

First let’s look at moving the straps in:

  • Start by marking where you want to move the straps. I am using ½” for this example which may be a bit exaggerated, but I want to clearly show what the change looks like.How to Move Marlborough Bra Straps on the Orange Lingerie Blog
  • Redraw the power bar to upper cup seam line so the inner edge of the strap starts at the new, marked point. Remember all pattern alterations are from the seam lines! How to Move Marlborough Bra Straps on the Orange Lingerie Blog
  • Redraw the remainder of the power bar using the existing power bar dimensions as a guide and draw in the new cutting lines. Remember the finished power bar should be close to ½” (¾” D to J cups) across the top where the strap ring is attached. Also remember to maintain the allowance for the trim at the underarm (⅜”  for A to C cups and ½” for D to J cups).How to Move Marlborough Bra Straps on the Orange Lingerie Blog

Now, let’s look at how to move the straps out. (Though I must say that I have never heard of anyone moving the straps out on this pattern!)

  • Start by marking where you want to move the straps. I am using ¼” for this example. How to Move Marlborough Bra Straps on the Orange Lingerie Blog
  • Redraw the power bar to upper cup seam line so the inner edge of the strap starts at the new, marked point. Be sure to maintain a smooth line the length of the power bar.How to Move Marlborough Bra Straps on the Orange Lingerie Blog
  • Redraw the remainder of the power bar using the existing power bar dimensions as a guide and draw in the new cutting lines. Remember the finished power bar should be close to ½” (¾” D to J cups) across the top where the strap ring is attached. Also remember to maintain the allowance for the trim at the underarm (⅜”  for A to C cups and ½” for D to J cups).

How to Move Marlborough Bra Straps on the Orange Lingerie Blog

The process for moving the band positioning on the back of the bra remains the same. You can get a refresher on how to do that here.

Did you know that you should not alter the bra straps until the band and frame fit you properly? If you want to learn more about pattern alterations for bra fitting you can get my book where I take you through my systematic fitting process and the most common bra sewing pattern fitting adjustments!

How to Make a Lace Upper Cup for a Foam Cup Bra

How to Make a Lace Upper Cup for a Foam Cup Bra by Orange LingerieI love lace bras and I especially love the look of a lace scallop edge. Luckily it is simple to convert the upper cup of many bra patterns to use a lace scallop edge, even when that cup is made of foam.

This tutorial will show you how to covert the upper cup of the Esplanade bra to show off a lace scallop edge. You can use this same approach for the Boylston bra and this tutorial will help you understand how to use foam underneath the lace upper cup of the Marlborough bra.

The first step is to alter the upper cup pattern for both the foam and fabric pattern pieces. All you need to do is straighten the top edge for both pieces which you do by drawing a straight line from seam line to seam line as shown below.

How to Make a Lace Upper Cup for a Foam Cup Bra

When you modify the fabric pattern for lace, you lose the portion of the cup that folds over the foam. This is intentional and allows the lace scallop edge to remain visible in the final bra.

You will cut out your upper cup as you normally cut out lace upper cups, aligning the seam lines with the edge of the lace. Depending on your lace, it can take some experimentation to get the best cutting layout. The primary goal is to preserve the length of the seam lines, something that is particularly important with working with the small seam allowances and close fit of a bra. When covering foam, we also need to be sure we covering the foam cup as much as possible so it does not show through to the right side of the bra.

For this particular lace, the below layout works best:

How to Make a Lace Upper Cup for a Foam Cup Bra by Orange Lingerie

To contrast, while the following layout preserves the lengthy of the seam lines, you can see there are several gaps created where the foam would be very visible. Something we definitely do not want!

How to Make a Lace Upper Cup for a Foam Cup Bra by Orange LingerieIn terms of putting it all together, assemble the cups as instructed in the pattern. When you get to step six of the Esplanade instructions, instead of sewing the fabric cup to the foam cup and flipping the fabric over the foam, put the wrong side of the lace cup to the right side of the foam cup, aligning the base of the lace scallops with the upper edge of the foam cup. Then sew a zigzag stitch across the top of the foam cup to join the two layers.

If you want to finish the upper edge of the foam with more than just a zigzag over the edge you could optionally finish the foam edge with some tricot tape prior to attaching the lace cup. Just be sure not to add any bulk to this area since we want it to lie flat on the body. A zigzag stitch helps to flatten out that upper edge of the foam cup without creating any ridges. I actually prefer the flatness I can achieve without any additional finishing along that upper edge.

Now you have beautiful lace scallop edge cups for you Esplanade bra and you can finish sewing the cups and bra as usual!

Esplanade Bra Making Kits Now Available!

Esplanade Bra Making Kits Now Available!

Peach Multi Floral Esplanade Bra by Orange LingerieOnce again I have teamed up with Tailor Made Shop to offer bra making kits, this time for the Esplanade bra! Just add the pattern and underwires to these Orange Lingerie x Tailor Made Shop kits and you have everything you need to make your own beautiful long line strapless bra.

You may recognize a couple of these print fabrics from my last collaboration with Tailor Made Shop. I have to say that I love them even more made into an Esplanade bra!

Rose Floral Esplanade Bra by Orange Lingerie

We also have a new fabric, a lightweight scuba (pictured below), which is super easy to handle and works really well for bra making!

Scuba Floral Esplanade Bra by Orange Lingerie

There are only a limited number of kits available so order yours soon! The pre-sale for these kits is from March 13 – 24 and they will ship April 3 – 7.

I can’t wait to see all the beautiful Esplanade bras everyone is going to make with these kits! Be sure to tag your make #OrangeLingeriexTMS so we can find them all!

Tips for Making a Hook and Eye Closure from Orange Lingerie

Four Tips for Making a Hook and Eye Closure

Leverett Hook and Eye Closure Sewing Pattern from Orange LingerieThe Leverett sewing pattern presents all sorts of possibilities for customizing your bras with a unique hook and eye closure. While making a hook and eye closure by hand takes a bit of work (a.k.a. hand sewing!), I have some tips and tricks to make it easier.

1. Choose the Right Fabric

Successful sewing projects start with the right fabric choice and the Leverett is no exception. I recommend a stable, low to no movement fabric. I also find that fabric prints make it easier to get a nice looking result, especially if hand sewing is not your thing!

If your fabric is on the thin side, be sure to use a fusible interfacing to provide body and stability. You can read my post on how to manipulate fabric for a tutorial.

Tips for Making a Hook and Eye Closure from Orange Lingerie

2. Match the Thread

Your thread should match your selected fabric as closely as possible for it to blend in. If you are making a 1×3 closure you can even hide the eye stitching in the fabric fold so it will not show through to the right side of the closure. However, I don’t recommend this technique for any of the other sizes since stitching the eyes through all the layers really helps keep everything secure when the garment is on the body.

Leverett Hook and Eye Closure Sewing Pattern from Orange Lingerie

3. Decrease the Depth

To decrease the amount of hand sewing, you can decrease the depth of the closure so instead of having 3 rows of eyes, reduce it to 2 rows or even 1 row. Just be aware that if you do this you are limiting your ability to adjust the bra as the elastic stretches out with age. Luckily, I have so many Esplanade bras and I know exactly how the band fits with my favorite power net that I can now get away with a single row of eyes!

Leverett Hook and Eye Closure Sewing Pattern from Orange Lingerie

If you do opt for a closure with fewer than 3 rows of eyes, be sure to add the amount that you decreased to the band pattern pieces! If you want to see how to increase a bra band you can read this tutorial.

  • If you decrease from 3 rows to 2 rows: Add ¼” to the band pattern piece.
  • If you decrease from 3 rows to 1 row: Add ½” to the band pattern piece.

4. Mark the Fabric

There a lot of markings on the Leverett pattern to help you get the all the hooks and eyes lined up. To get the markings onto the fabric I use a 1/16” hole punch to punch out all the dots on the pattern pieces. Then I can use my water soluble marker or chalk to easily transfer the markings onto the fabric.

Leverett Hook and Eye Closure Sewing Pattern from Orange Lingerie

One final note on hand made closures! I find it easiest to hook up bras with a Leverett closure in front and then swivel the bra around into its correct position. Unlike ready-made closures, I have not mastered hooking these up behind my back!

Happy bra making everyone!

Introducing the Leverett hook and eye closure sewing pattern!

Leverett Hook and Eye Closure Sewing Pattern from Orange LingerieThere are times when I want to achieve an extraordinary result on a lingerie project that requires a hook and eye closure and that is when I turn to the Leverett sewing pattern. The Leverett solves a couple of lingerie making dilemmas: finding the right size closure and finding it in the right color. I have been reaching for this pattern a lot lately for the Esplanade bra since finding the exact hook and eye tape that I want can be a challenge!

Leverett Hook and Eye Closure Sewing Pattern from Orange Lingerie
The Leverett sewing pattern comes with one, two, three and seven high hook high closure options and includes fully illustrated instructions to guide you through the process of making a beautiful, slim and sturdy closure.

Leverett Hook and Eye Closure Sewing Pattern from Orange Lingerie

While making your own custom hook and eye closure takes more time and effort than using a pre-made set, it adds a very special and unique detail to your garment and you get the satisfaction of being able to make one more part of your garment by hand!

Buy the Leverett pattern now!

How to Add Detachable Bra Straps by Orange Lingerie

How to Make Detachable Bra Straps – Part 2

 

How to Add Detachable Bra Straps by Orange LingerieIn the last post I went through all the prep work to create detachable bra straps. In this post, I will take you through the process adding a strap attachment to your Esplanade bra so you can wear straps with your bra – or not! I love options!

Since I am using my Esplanade bra pattern for this tutorial, I will be covering how to add the strap attachment when using cut-and-sew foam bra cups and regular lingerie elastic around the top of the band.

Front Strap Attachment

To add a strap attachment on the front of the bra, we are going to attach a folded length of grosgrain ribbon (you can also use a lightweight twill tape) into the fabric to foam seam line on the upper edge of the upper cup.

First cut two 1¼” lengths of grosgrain ribbon. Fold each length of ribbon in half and with the ribbon centered on the strap placement marking and the raw edges aligned with the top of the upper cup, enclose the ribbon in the fabric to foam seam (Image 1). Now flip the fabric out of the way (Image 2) and sew two rows of straight stitches on top of each other (Image 3) to secure the ribbon to the foam cup.

How to Add Detachable Bra Straps by Orange Lingerie

Now you can finish the cups and continue sewing your bra as usual.

Back Strap Attachment

For the rear ribbon attachment, start by cutting two 2” lengths of ribbon. When it comes time in the construction process to add the upper band elastic, sandwich the folded strip of ribbon between the elastic and the power net, with the raw edges of the ribbon along the upper edge of the bra, (Image 1) and sew the first pass of elastic as usual (Image 2). When you sew the second pass of zigzag stitches on the elastic, keep the ribbon free (Image 3).

After the elastic attachment is complete, turn the ribbon to the inside of the bra and sew two rows of straight stitches on top of each other to secure the ribbon to the bottom of the elastic (Image 4).

How to Add Detachable Bra Straps by Orange Lingerie

Now you can finish sewing your bra as usual. When you want to add straps just hook them into the ribbon loop with the closed end of the hook on facing the outside (shoulder side) of the bra (see image 4 of the upper cup attachment).

One of the fun things about detachable straps is that you can make multiple straps for the same bra. You can also crisscross the back straps if that works better underneath your clothing.

Now you have more styling options for the Esplanade bra!

How to Make Detachable Bra Straps – Part 1

How to Make Detachable Bra Straps from Orange Lingerie
Since the release of the Esplanade bra, many of you have asked whether it is possible to add straps to this design. Well, the answer is a definitive YES! Over the next two posts I am going to show you how to make detachable bra straps so you can still get the benefits of a strapless bra with the flexibility of adding straps when you want them. The beauty of detachable straps is that you can have different straps for different looks, crisscross them in the back or, in the case of a strapless bra, remove them entirely!

This tutorial will be posted in two parts. This post will tell you how to make your straps and prep your bra pattern and the next post will tell you how to sew the strap attachments on to the bra.

Materials

To make detachable straps you will need the following:

  • Two straps (how-to details below)
  • 4 G-hooks, the size of your desired strap width (pictured below)
  • ½ to 1 yard of strap elastic the same width as the closed portion of the G-hook
  • 2 rings and 2 sliders the same width as the closed portion of the G-hook
  • 4 short lengths of grosgrain ribbon or lightweight twill tape, the width equal to the hook portion of the G-hook

I recommend you start by deciding what size G-hooks you will be using since that drives the specifications of rest of the materials on the list. Note when you are shopping that G-hooks may also be called “swim suit hooks”.

How to Make Detachable Bra Straps from Orange Lingerie

Make Straps

You can easily make a strap using all strap elastic or have a fabric strap in the front and an adjustable elastic strap in the back. For the Esplanade bra I prefer to have a coordinating fabric strap visible on the front of the bra.

For a fabric strap, you can draft pattern by drawing a simple rectangle that is 11″ long. The width of the rectangle is two times the desired finished strap width plus two times the seam allowance. When determining the finished width of your strap keep in mind that the final sewn strap must be equal to the width of the closed loop portion of the G-hook so it will properly attach to the connector.

As an example, if you want a ½” strap, the width of the strap rectangle is calculated as follows:

  • Final strap width = ½”
  • Starting strap pattern width calculation = 2 x ½” = 1”
  • Strap seam allowances = 2 x ¼”=  ½”
  • Final strap pattern width = 1” + ½”= 1½”

Below is what the final strap pattern looks like with ¼” seam lines marked on the long side and a ½” allowance on each short side to fold over a connector. Clearly this is not to scale so be sure to draw your own!

 

How to Make Detachable Bra Straps from Orange LingerieNext, cut two straps using the pattern drafted above from a low to no movement fabric with any movement going across the width of the strap. Be sure to stabilize the straps if your fabric is stretchy.

To construct the straps, fold each strap in half and sew the rectangle right sides together along the long edge using a ¼” seam allowance, turn right side out and press the seam line to one side.

For the back elastic portion of the strap (I strongly recommend adjustable bra straps!), cut two 8” lengths of strap elastic and assemble with rings and sliders as usual (pictured below).

How to Make Detachable Bra Straps from Orange Lingerie

To finish, thread one end of the fabric strap through the ring of the elastic portion of the strap and secure. Then attach a G-hook to each end of the strap. Be sure the G-hooks on each end of the strap are hooking the same way.

If you want a fabric strap that is wider than what your G-hooks allow (as I did below) you will need to taper the ends of your strap pattern so it fits nicely on the G-hook. With this approach you also need to be conscious that the fabric strap must fit nicely over the ring attached to the elastic portion of the strap. I don’t recommend trying to make the finished strap width more than ¼” larger than the G-hook or ring opening!

How to Make Detachable Bra Straps from Orange Lingerie

If you opt for all elastic straps (no fabric front strap), cut two 18” lengths of strap elastic and substitute G-hooks for the rings when you assemble the straps.

Determine Strap Placement

You need to determine where you will want to attach your straps before your start sewing your bra since the G-hook holders on the bra are added early in the construction process.

If you have already made an Esplanade bra, this is super simple, you can try on the bra and identify where you want to put the straps on your next one. You can even pin the straps you just made in place to see where you like them best. If you have not made an Esplanade bra, you can look at another bra you like as a guide for strap placement.

Once you have determined where you want your straps, mark the placement point on your pattern. You need to mark the front placement point on the wrong side of the foam upper cup pattern piece and the back placement point on the wrong side of band pattern piece as shown below.

How to Make Detachable Bra Straps from Orange Lingerie

All the prep work is complete! Coming up next I will show you how to add the strap attachments to the bra so you can wear straps with your Esplanade bra – or not!

Esplanade Bra Sewing Inspiration from Orange Lingerie

Esplanade Bra Sewing Inspiration

Esplanade sewing Inspiration from Orange Lingerie

As you get ready to make your Esplanade bra, I thought it would be fun share some design ideas to share some of the styles you can make using this sewing pattern. Above are some of my favorite strapless and long line bras. Let’s take a closer look!

Staring in the upper left hand corner is an amazing set from Carine Gilson. I am a HUGE fan of her work and this appliqué lace over silk is just one example of why. The craftsmanship from her atelier in Belgium is impeccable and the lace placement is just perfect. This bra is a great example of how lace appliqué can elevate what would otherwise be just a solid color bra.

Continuing around clockwise, the next bra is the Lucy bra from Lascivious Lingerie. I like the all-over white lace on top of a rosy beige base. Since the lace was treated like fabric, featuring no scallop edges, it would be an especially easy fabrication to use for the Esplanade bra. Another plus is that foam is readily available in light beige and white lace and white findings are easy to come by. Also, that bow!

Next, in the lower right hand corner, is the Petunia bra from Else. I love the mixed lace combination and the wide elastic at the base. I think the longer line of the Esplanade will take a mixed lace combination like this to the next level!

Finally, the Dita Von Teese Parisienne bra. This bra has several ideas that all manage to work well together. There is the echo stitching on the cups and bridge, the mix of laces, even the V cutout on the bridge. So many ideas in this one! Use one or all of them for your Esplanade. I really want to experiment with echo stitching.

Want more Esplanade bra inspiration? Check out my new Pinterest board!