What is the line about the world laughing at you when you make plans? Well, that saying exactly sums up my month. At the beginning of August, my husband and I were planning to move to an apartment in the East Village neighborhood in Chicago. We searched for and found an amazing apartment and spent time negotiating the lease. Then, the day we were to sign the lease, the unexpected happened.
My husband was offered a great career opportunity. In Boston. Just to complicate matters we could not start the moving process or even share the news broadly as his company went through their process to finalize the arrangements, filling these last few weeks with a lot of uncertainty. At last everything has fallen into place and I can finally share the news. We are moving to Boston!
I am not going to lie, moving cross country is highly disruptive. It is not just the move itself but the fact that all of our belongings will be in storage for at least a month while we find a place to live. While I am working hard to keep my projects on track it could take a bit longer than I expected to release my first pattern. You see, not expecting three distraction filled weeks and the Boston move, I got ambitious and decided to make a set (bralette and matching knickers) for my first pattern.
Luckily the pattern has already been graded and digitized and most of my test sewing is complete. Who knows, the move could lead to an unexpected increase in productivity since my stash of fabric and tempting extracurricular sewing projects will be temporarily out of reach. Now off to decide what can be temporarily exiled to storage and what I can not live without.
Ever since I launched Orange Lingerie (nearly 4 years ago!) I have been drafting bra patterns to fit individual clients and to make small batches of ready-to-wear lingerie for local designer markets. When it came time to edit and test my book Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction I decided that I needed to use the materials my readers would have access to so I used a variety commercially available bra patterns to run through the techniques in my book.
As I worked with commercial patterns I saw room for innovation and a different point of view so I started to think about producing my patterns for those who wanted to sew my designs. As readers of my book and my blog started asking more about Orange Lingerie patterns, the thought really took hold.
I have mentioned this to a few of you but here is the formal announcement: I am going to start making my lingerie patterns available! I still have work to do to get everything ready for the release of the first pattern but soon you will be able to purchase Orange Lingerie sewing patterns!
I will continue to tweet and post pictures of my progress on Instagram. You can also join my email list to be notified as soon as patterns are released and to find out how and where you can buy them.
When I was creating a list of lingerie supply sources for my book I focused on online suppliers. Interestingly, I end up buying many of my bra making supplies in New York. For those lucky enough to be in New York City, you will be happy to know that you can find all the necessary supplies readily available within the span of a few blocks in the garment district.
First let’s review the materials and notions you need to make a bra. You can find additional details on each item below as well as the recommended sewing supplies used for bra making in my book.
Fabrics: band fabric, cup fabric, frame and/or bridge fabric, stabilizer and/or lining fabric
Notions: band elastic, underarm elastic, neckline elastic or trim, strap elastic, underwires, underwire casing, hook and eye closure, rings and sliders
The list of bra making supplies may look long but you only need to hit 2 or 3 stores to get everything you need. When you go shopping take a list of the materials you need along with the necessary yardage, widths, etc. from your pattern, a tape measure for stretch testing and swatches of any laces or trims you want to use.
In terms of a shopping strategy, I suggest starting with the fabrics. If you can’t find coordinating notions you always have the option of dyeing them to match. For things like underwires, underwire casing, hook and eye closures and rings and sliders, I buy in bulk so I always have some on hand. It is also much more economical if you plan on making a lot of bras.
Now on to the shops! Following are the shops (presented in alphabetical order) that I visit for bra making supplies as well as what I buy at each store when I visit the New York.
B&J carries an off white as well as a black 60” wide nylon tricot for $5.95 a yard that can be used for cup lining and stabilizer. You can find these on bolts in the stretch fabric aisle. Note, nylon dyes well so the off white works for just about anything.
Chic Fabrics at 225 W 39th St. # 11
This store has some of the best prices I have ever found for silk charmeuse and silk organza in the far right corner of the store (prices vary slightly by visit).
Daytona Trim at 251 W 39th St.
Toward the back of the store on the right wall is a nice selection of lingerie and fold over elastics. I end up looking for different strap and neckline trim ideas here as well. I visit this store if I can’t find what I need at Pacific Trimming (details below).
My first stop for elastics since they stock several colors of fold over and lingerie elastic as well as clear and gripper elastics. I often find fun bra strap options here as well. If you don’t want to make a trip to Steinlauf & Stoller (details below) you can see if they have your size underwires from a limited supply on a bookshelf unit to the right of the registers. They also have plush underwire casing, boning and boning casing.
They stock a limited selection of underwires, packaged plastic boning, rings and sliders and hook and eye tape. I usually buy all these things at Steinlauf and Stoller (details below) but if you like to browse for your supplies, you can do that here. They also have basic sewing supplies with a nice selection of Clover tools.
They stock underwires in a variety of shapes and sizes, underwire casing, boning and boning casing, rings and sliders, hook and eye tape as well as general sewing tools and notions. Know what you want before you shop here – as in have a list of what you need with the sizes and quantities. They always have the sizes of underwires and boning that I need along with my other basics plus I love their speed and efficiency. If you want to browse for your supplies, visit SIL Thread instead (details above).
The only bra making supply that I like to use that is in short supply in New York are stretch laces. For stretch laces, Etsy is the place to hunt. There are also Etsy stores that sell bra making kits that have everything you need to make a bra.
Of course, if you want to shop for all your supplies online, you can take a peek at my resources page that I created for readers of my book here.