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!

Esplanade Bra Sewing Pattern from Orange Lingerie's long line strapless bra sewing pattern

New Bra Sewing Pattern!

The Esplanade bra. Orange Lingerie's long line strapless bra sewing pattern.Introducing the Esplanade bra sewing pattern!

I started developing this bra over a year ago and I kept working on it until I felt like I had a perfect strapless bra. With foam cups and a boned long line band you get great support while the bra stays put! A long line bra is also great for featuring beautiful fabric prints, like the Liberty London print pictured above, and works well for color or pattern blocking.

The Esplanade pattern is available in cup sizes A to DD and band sizes 30 to 40. The pattern instructions include how to use cut-and-sew foam (and has separate foam pattern pieces) as well as how to easily add boning along the vertical seam lines.

Esplanade. Orange Lingerie's long line strapless bra sewing pattern

Because cut-and-sew foam is used for the cups, you can make this bra using a wide variety of fabrics. Stay tuned to the Orange Lingerie Instagram feed to see more samples and construction details.

Over the coming weeks I will post how to make and attach optional straps, both the permanent and the removable varieties, so you can get more looks from from this pattern.

As always, I can’t wait to see what you make! Be sure to tag images of your garment with #EsplanadeBra so I can see them all!

Happy bra making!

Orange Lingerie x Tailor Made Shop Bra Making Kits!

Announcing Bra Making Kits!

Orange Lingerie x Tailor Made Shop Bra Making Kits!

I am thrilled to announce Orange Lingerie x Tailor Made Shop bra making kits! I have long admired the bra making materials that Tailor Made Shop offers and am super excited to work with them to offer these beautiful kits!

In total, there are five Orange Lingerie x TMS bra kits that are perfect for your next Marlborough or Boylston bra. Three kits are satin with lace. The satin in these kits is super nice to work with and it will certainly wear and launder well. The other two kits are print silk charmeuse. These prints are so pretty!

I am happy to say that there are enough materials and notions in each kit to make up to a J cup bra and you can also choose to have a 3 hook high closure in your kit which is recommended for larger cup sizes.

Supplies are limited so be sure to order your kits now!

The kit pre-sale will run through January 27th and kits will be shipped February 1 – 5. That gives you plenty of time for a Valentines Day make or two! I can’t wait to see what you sew up! Use the tag #OrangeLingeriexTMS so I can find them all!

Easy Upper Cup Adjustments to Improve Bra Fit

Simple Upper Cup Adjustments to Improve Bra Fit

Marlborough Bra by Orange Lingerie Close UpNeed a little extra room across the upper cup of your bra? Or, perhaps the upper cup is just a bit to large across the top? This bra sewing tutorial is for you!

Thankfully, changing the upper cup is simple. In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to increase and decrease the upper cup for both the Marlborough and the Boylston bras side-by-side. As usual, let’s go through this step-by-step.

  1. The first step is to determine the amount of the increase or decrease.
    • To determine the amount to increase, you must estimate. More often than not, I start with ¼” but feel free to deviate from that amount as necessary.
    • To determine the amount of the decrease, pinch out the excess material. For the Marlborough bra, I like to take the pinch where the upper cup connects to the power bar. For the Boylston, you can pinch out the excess from wherever it is handy.
  2. Let’s start with an increase adjustment. On the upper cup pattern piece mark the amount of the increase outside the outer edge of the pattern piece. I am using ¼” for these examples. Remember, all pattern alterations are done from the seam line, not the cutting line! Fortunately, my bra patterns include markings for all seam and trim lines which is very useful when making pattern alterations!

Easy Upper Cup Adjustments to Improve Bra FitEasy Upper Cup Adjustments to Improve Bra Fit

  1. Now to redraw and true up the seam lines. The seam allowance to the outer edge of the Marlborough bra upper cup is ¼” and the trim allowance at the outer edge of the Boylston bra is ⅜” for sizes A to C and ½” for D to J.
    • On the Marlborough bra you do not have to true up the seam to the power bar unless you need more room on the power bar above where it meets the upper cup so you can fold the fabric over the strap ring. You should, however, add a notch where the revised upper cup meets to the power bar so you will sew symmetrical bra cups!
    • On the Boylston bra you need to redraw the underarm curve so it is smooth and connects nicely to where the strap will be attached.Easy Upper Cup Adjustments to Improve Bra FitEasy Upper Cup Adjustments to Improve Bra Fit
  2. Now let’s look at a decrease adjustment. Start by marking the decrease inside the outer edge of the pattern.Easy Upper Cup Adjustments to Improve Bra FitEasy Upper Cup Adjustments to Improve Bra Fit
  1. Again, true up the seams and add the seam and trim allowances as detailed #4 above. Easy Upper Cup Adjustments to Improve Bra FitEasy Upper Cup Adjustments to Improve Bra Fit

You are now all set to cut and test your alteration!

Did you know that altering the cups is actually the last fitting adjustment you should make? If you want to learn more about pattern alterations for bra fitting get my book where I take you through my systematic fitting process and the most common pattern adjustments!