Berkeley Bra Sewing Inspiration

Thank you all for your enthusiastic response to the Berkeley bra! I had a lot of fun working on this bra design and I can’t wait to see what you all sew up using this pattern!

I will be posting more on the blog about this pattern over the coming weeks including how to select materials and some easy pattern modifications. Today I wanted to share some ready-to-wear inspiration for making your version of the Berkeley bra.

Berkeley Bra Sewing Inspiration on the Orange Lingerie Blog

Let’s take a look at each of these beautiful bras starting from the upper left hand corner.

Seeing the Cosabella Never Say Never bra  makes me want to try a lace strap on the Berkeley bra. If you have the Boylston bra sewing pattern, you can use that strap pattern as a starting point to get this same effect for the Berkeley.

Moving clockwise, the Blush Sweetest Sin Demi bra shows you the effect you can get with a bright solid color lace. This super fun look has me searching for neon stretch lace right now. You can get an idea of what this bra would look like in a neutral colorway on the Blush Lingerie site.

In the lower right hand corner, the Fantasie of England Mariana bra gives you some ideas about combining different, complimentary laces. You could also get an interesting visual effect by varying the color of the lining that you use underneath the lace.

Finally, in the lower left hand corner is an all black lace bra, the Myla Nicole. Check out that strap attachment! I really need to try that.

I can’t seem to stop sewing these up right now so keep an eye on our Instagram for even more Berkeley bra inspiration and don’t forget to tag your makes with #berkeleybra so everyone can find them!

The Berkeley Bra Sewing Pattern by Orange Lingerie in Pink Floral Lace

Introducing the Berkeley Bra Sewing Pattern!

Orange Lingerie Berkeley Bra Sewing Pattern Made in Pink Flora Stretch LaceI am super excited to introduce you to our newest bra sewing pattern, the Berkeley bra!

I love lace and I have been wanting to add an all lace bra to our sewing pattern line up for quite awhile. To showcase lace to its greatest effect, the Berkeley bra uses a lace scallop edge along the upper cup and along the entire lower edge of the bra. The extensive use of the lace edge makes for an interesting pattern that sews up a bit differently from the others in our collection!

Underneath all the pretty stretch lace lies support and shaping with underwires and an internal power bar. Moving the power bar to the inside of the bra allowed for a more a substantial cup structure to provide great shaping capabilities. This move also preserves the appearance of a curvy two-piece cup. The end result is a bra that provides great shaping while feeling light and comfortable!

Side View of the Berkeley Bra Sewing Pattern by Orange Lingerie

With the extensive use of lace and lining throughout this bra, the Berkeley bra sewing pattern includes a special section dedicated to cutting instructions and details on how to work with lace.

Given the design of this bra and the extensive use of stretch lace, the Berkeley bra will only be available for A to DD cups in size 30 to 40 bands.

I hope you enjoy the Berkeley bra pattern as much as I do! Be sure to tag your makes with #BerkeleyBra and/or #OrangeLingerie so I can find them all. I love seeing everyone’s unique version of our sewing patterns!

Best Practices for Packing Lingerie

Best Packing Practices for Lingerie on the Orange Lingerie BlogEveryone has their own special way to efficiently pack garments for a trip. With their delicate fabrics and wired or foam structure, packing bras and underwear deserve special consideration. In this post, I share my favorite method for packing bras and underwear for a trip.

How to Pack Bras
Most of my bras do not contain foam. This is a real asset when packing! Non-foam bras take up far less room than a foam bra. Just hook the bra , fold down the straps, fold the bra in half as shown below using the Orange Lingerie Boylston bra. Once folded you can stack up the bras you are packing on top of one another as pictured at the start of this post.

How to Fold a Non Foam Bra on the Orange Lingerie Blog

If you are packing a foam cup bra, pack underwear into the cups then fasten the closure and fold down the straps. To pack, keep the bra flat and place underwear around the cups. Alternatively, you could pack your molded foam cup bras into a foam bra case. I just find it more efficient to use a packing cube (more on these later) so I can pack underwear all around the cups rather than packing underwear separately.

When packing a foam cup bra keep in mind that the key is to prevent the cups from getting crushed or misshapen. Please do not turn one cup inside out to fit the cups into one another!

How to Pack a Foam Cup Bra on the Orange Lingerie Blog

How to Pack Underwear
Underwear is folded and stacked. Folding underwear keeps them flat so they take up less space. My folding method is shown below using the Orange Lingerie Kingston thong.

 

How to fold underwear on the Orange Lingerie Blog

Once all the bras and underwear are prepped I put them into packing cubes. I am a huge fan of the cubes! They allow me to fit more into my suitcase and keep everything organized. They are especially great for longer trips when you are changing locations frequently because they make it easy to find what you need in your bag without having to dig through individual items. Just be sure to put any packing cubes with bras at the top of the suitcase so they do not get crushed underneath the weight of your other garments!

Additional Lingerie to Pack for Vacation on the Orange Lingerie Blog

Additional Undergarments to Consider Packing for Vacation

Additional Lingerie to Pack for Vacation on the Orange Lingerie BlogLingerie requirements for a vacation go beyond just bras and underwear. What about all the other lingerie you enjoy when you are at home? Which pieces should you take along with you on your trip? Following is a framework for thinking about the lingerie you will want to make room for in your suitcase.

Sleep Wear
At a bare minimum you should allow one sleep wear garment per week of travel, that way you can rotate pieces and launder as necessary. I generally like chemises since that means there is only one piece to pack. That said, I love my Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas so I will definitely bring them along on this trip!

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas on the Orange Lingerie Blog

Loungewear
Even if you do not spend much time at your hotel (or AirBnB), you may want something to wear while you are getting ready for the day or having a morning cup of coffee in your room. I love having my own lightweight coverup versus the huge and heavy terry cloth robes so often provided by hotels. For this trip I am bringing my latest Named Asaka Kimono along (yes, I have made more than one of these!).

Named Clothing Asaka Kimono on the Orange Lingerie Blog

Socks/Hosiery
Sock and hosiery needs will vary greatly by season. For winter trips, you will likely need more socks and/or tights than in summer months when all your shoes may be sandals and you prefer bare legs. A good way to determine hosiery quantity and type is to take a look at your outfits and think about what you want to wear with each one. Keep in mind that you can easily launder hosiery while traveling (you can refer to my post on lingerie laundry) so you do not need to pack a set for every single day. I like to add 1-2 more pairs of hosiery than I think I need because inevitably I end up changing shoe preferences when I travel, moving from a sandal to a sneaker for example.

For my upcoming late summer/early fall trip, I plan to take lots of these invisible socks. They are super compact and wash and dry easily so I don’t have to pack too many of them.

Specialty lingerie and accessories
Admittedly a very broad category! Items to consider are nipple covers and invisible underwear, for a smooth look under very fitted clothing, and any fun or fancy sets you may want to wear. If it is a beach/resort vacation you will want to think about swimwear and cover-ups.

For accessories, I keep fashion tapeshoe padding strips and a deodorant remover sponge in my suitcase at all times (I wear a lot of black!). I also like to have adjustable hem tape with me so I can wear a single pair of jeans with multiple shoe heights.

Additional Lingerie to Pack for Vacation on the Orange Lingerie Blog

Exercise Gear
Finally, if you are planning to exercise during your trip, consider including a fresh set of exercise gear for every workout since effectively laundering these garments on the road can be a challenge without going to a laundromat. This particular trip is going to be an extended rest break from the gym for me so I am not packing any gym gear for a change!

 

This is by no means a complete list because ultimately the things we like to travel with are very personal. What additional underpinnings do you like to take with you on your trips? Share your tips in the comments!

How to Launder Lingerie on the Orange Lingerie Blog

How to Launder Lingerie While Traveling

How to Launder Lingerie on the Orange Lingerie BlogBy committing to launder your lingerie while traveling, you are not only freeing up valuable suitcase space but you are also ensuring your lingerie looks great and has a long life. Don’t worry, laundering your delicates on the road is really easy and takes hardly any time at all!

If you have read my post about how to care for your lingerie you know that you should only wear a bra twice before laundering. In short, it helps preserve the life of the elastics. Underwear should be washed after a single wearing.

Just like at home, bras and underwear are hand washed and air dried. Let’s go through the process step-by-step.

Fill sink with lukewarm water along with a travel packet of Soak laundry wash.
I travel with a sink stopper, just in case the one in my room does not work properly — it happens more than you think! A versatile stopper also ensures that I can do laundry in any sink or tub. Laundry must soak to get truly clean so a stopper is pretty crucial. In terms of the soap, I like Soak since it does not require rinsing which is a nice time saver.

Put your dirty delicates into the soapy water.
Don’t forget to wash similar colors together! You will need to wash your pink sets separately from your black sets to avoid any potential color bleed.

Soak laundry for 15 to 20 minutes
I usually start the laundry process before I shower so the lingerie soaks while I am showering and I don’t lose valuable travel time waiting on my laundry.

Remove garments from sink and press out extra water.
You don’t want to wring or squeeze your bras or underwear. Just think of those delicate fabrics and laces! To get the extra water out of the garments press bras between layers of a microfiber towel. For underwear, roll them up in a microfiber towel.

Hang up garments and microfiber towel on a clothes line.
I want to be sure I have an easy way to hang up my garments so they can properly dry out so I travel with a clothes line that allows me to create a place to dry my clothes regardless of the location or layout of the space. I usually lie bras flat on a towel to dry at home but when traveling, I need them to dry faster so I put them on the line as well. To hang a bra on this clothes line (pictured below) I insert the hook or eye side into the line. That way I do not distort or stretch the straps or center front bridge of the bra.

That’s it! Freshly laundered bras and underwear will be dry and ready for deployment in 24 hours or less!

How to Launder Lingerie on the Orange Lingerie Blog

 

How Much Lingerie You Need to Pack for Your Trip

How Much Lingerie You Need to Pack on the Orange Lingerie BlogIn the last post, I wrote about how to formulate a lingerie packing strategy. Now it is time to figure out how many bras and pairs of underwear are necessary for a trip.

Once you know the minimum number of pieces you must pack to ensure fresh undergarments every day, you can add additional pieces. I always take a along a few extras!

Let’s start by defining what I mean by “trip”. My definition of a trip day is a day that I must dress using the contents of my suitcase. A 14 day trip means dressing from a suitcase for 14 days.

I am going to only focus on the essentials here – daily bras and underwear – and save the discussion of other pieces of lingerie (sleepwear, loungewear, etc.) for a future post.

Regardless of the length of your trip, the principles for determining how many pieces you need to take with you remain the same.

  • Each pair of underwear can only be worn once before it needs to be laundered.
    • Underwear quantity = Trip length
    • Or, if you like to wear two pairs of underwear a day: Underwear quantity = Trip length x 2

If you have unlimited suitcase space and don’t want to do any laundry, a two-week trip means packing 14/2 = 7 bras and at least 14 pairs of underwear. That consumes a lot of valuable suitcase space!

To reduce the number of pieces that need to be packed, simply commit to doing laundry on the road. (I will detail the easiest way to do laundry in the next post!) Start by figuring out which days you will be able to do laundry. Be sure to have at least an overnight stay for a laundry day so everything has a chance to properly dry. Then look at the longest stretch in between laundry opportunities.

For example, I took a look at my upcoming travel itinerary and saw 3 potential laundry days and the longest I must go in-between laundry days is 4 days. This means I can think about packing for a series of 4 day trips. Applying the formulas above, a 4 day trip means packing a minimum of 2 bras (trip length of 4 days divided by 2) and 4 to 8 pairs of underwear (underwear quantity = trip length or trip length x 2).

If you are a minimalist and your lingerie choices work with the clothing you are packing, you can stop here. If you have some extra luggage space or need a special piece like a strapless bra to go underneath an off the shoulder top, you can add those to your packing list. Also, for vacation, you may want to add a fun set to the mix!

Because my packing strategy for longer trips depends on doing laundry, I will show you how easy it is to do laundry while traveling in the next post!

Strategies for Packing Lingerie on the Orange Lingerie Blog

Strategies for Packing Lingerie for Vacation

Strategies for Packing Lingerie on the Orange Lingerie Blog

Packing for any trip can be a challenge! Suddenly you don’t have access to your entire lingerie drawer and all you have is what you managed to fit into your suitcase. This can either freeing or terrifying depending on how you like to get dressed!

Over the next few posts I am going to break down how I pack lingerie for vacation starting today with my overall packing strategy. Subsequent posts will cover how to determine how much you need to take with you, efficient packing and laundering your lingerie while traveling and finally, I will show you how I applied all of these elements to my upcoming two-week vacation!

To kick off the planning process, I use my list of packing questions:

1. What is the anticipated weather?
If it is going to be very cold, you may want to pack things like long underwear and tights. If it will be very hot, you may want to think about moisture wicking bras and underwear. Also, when it is really hot, any sort of foam bra may be too warm.

2. How long is the trip?
Longer trips mean balancing how much you want to take with you versus how much you actually need to take with you! Longer trips mean your pieces must work with more clothing items and launder easily. For shorter trips, you can add in a fun set and take along multiple options.

3. What activities are planned?
Clearly a business trip pack is going to look different than a vacation pack. For vacation, you can get more creative than you can for a conservative business trip. If you have any specialized physical activities like gym workouts, you will need to be sure to take along the necessary undergarments.

4. How many times can you do laundry? (Only necessary for longer trips.)
This factor is key for longer trips. The availability of laundry days is how I determine the minimum quantity of bras and underwear necessary, then I add from there. I will talk more about that in the next post.

5. What lingerie do I need for the clothes I am packing?
I am going to keep the discussion here focused primarily on bras and underwear however, you do need to make sure you are packing underwear that works underneath your clothing. This generally means developing your clothing packing plan first.

The choice of which lingerie to wear under your clothing really boils down to one key question: Do you want your lingerie to show or not?

When you are going for invisibility the degree of ease in your clothing makes a big difference. If your clothes are form fitting and body hugging, a foam bra and thong will help to give you a seamless look. If your clothes have more ease, a lace cut-and-sew bra and brief can work.

If you want your lingerie to show then you need to consider those pieces very carefully. Those pieces need to work together with your clothing so the effect looks intentional, not accidental. This means whatever part of the bra is showing, it should look like it is part of your overall look.

To get the visible lingerie look right, I strongly recommend trying on all the outfits you are packing along with the lingerie you wear so you know you are getting the effect you want.

Note: I won’t cover my clothing plan or makes here but you can always check out my personal Instagram account (@norma_ly) if you are interested in that part of the planning and packing equation!

6. Are there any local customs/standards to be aware of?
If you are going to a location that frowns upon visible lingerie or requires you to be all covered up, that should get factored into the packing process.

7. How much suitcase space is available?
I love the challenge of getting everything to fit into a single carry-on suitcase, regardless of how long I will be away. You may have more luggage space. Regardless, the struggle to take everything you want along with you is real!

 

These questions are just the first step in figuring out what to pack! In the next post, I will show you how I calculate the minimum quantity of bras and underwear needed for a trip.

Feel free to post your packing tips and tricks in the comments!

Fenway bra using Orange Lingerie x Tailor Made Shop black lace bra kit

New Bra Making Kits for the Fenway Bra!

Black Lace Fenway Bra by Orange LingerieOnce again Orange Lingerie has teamed up with Tailor Made Shop to create bra making kits, this time for the Fenway bra. We both love this bra pattern so much that we put together seven different options!

After sewing them all up I still can’t decide which is my favorite!

There is the black lace (pictured above), which is such a classic but then the metallic white and peach lace kits are both so pretty!

White Metallic Lace Fenway Bra by Orange Lingerie

 

Peach Lace Fenway Bra by Orange Lingerie

The Fenway bra presents a great opportunity to use Swiss dot tulle. Luckily it comes in three colors: white, a peachy beige and of course black.

White Swiss Dot Fenway Bra by Orange Lingerie

Peach Swiss Dot Fenway Bra by Orange Lingerie

Black Swiss Dot Fenway Bra by Orange Lingerie

Finally, I had to make a Fenway in this peachy pink lace. I love the contrast black trim and stitching.

Pink Shell Lace Fenway Bra by Orange Lingerie

Which one is your favorite? As always, there are only a limited number of kits available (especially of those metallic lace kits) so order yours soon! The pre-sale for these kits is from June 12 – 23 and they will ship July 5 – 7. You can order now from Tailor Made Shop.

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

 

 

Boning and Boning Casing by Orange Lingerie

An Easy Way to Add Support to your Bra

Sometimes you want a little more support from your bra or perhaps you just want to prevent the side seam from riding up on your body. No problem! All you need to do is add a little side boning! You can do this with any bra that has a side seam, including ready-to-wear bras that are in your lingerie drawer right now.

Like most of bra making and sewing in general, there are multiple ways to add boning to the side of a bra. This tutorial will show you the fast and easy way to add this support.

Materials

In addition to your finished bra, you will need lengths of boning long enough to cover the side seam of your bra and lengths of a boning casing wide enough to fit your boning. Be sure to have extra boning casing since it helps enormously with handling at the sewing machine.

I use ¼” Rigilene boning which fits nicely into the same casing I use for the underwires. I like the plush underwire casing at the side seam and using this material allows me to match what already being used inside the bra. If you are using this technique to add support to a ready-to-wear bra, just find the best color match in your stash.

Process

The first step is to sew up the entire bra as instructed. Yes, you can sew the entire bra first! Once the bra is complete it is just a matter of adding boning to the side seams.

To start, on the wrong side of the bra, attach boning casing at the side seam line on the frame side of the bra. You do not want to try to attach this to the band side of the bra since the band relies on its entire length to stretch around the body and the stretch pull on the stitching would not look good or wear well.

To attach the casing, stitch two lines: one on or near the seam line, and the second on the opposite side of the casing. Sew a bar tack at the top edge of the bra to close the casing.

Side Boning Casing Attachment by Orange Lingerie

Now it is time to put the boning into the casing. Start by cutting your boning to size. You need a length of boning that will span from the bar tack that seals the casing closed at the top edge of the bra to ¼” in from the bottom edge of the bra.

If necessary, press boning to flatten it underneath a pressing cloth and file both ends of each piece of boning smooth before inserting into the casing.

Side Boning Insertion by Orange Lingerie

To finish, sew a bar tack across the boning casing close to the bottom of the bra to seal the boning inside.

Finished Side Boning by Orange Lingerie

Variations

As you can imagine, during the sewing process you could easily hide the lower edge and even the upper edge of the casing underneath the elastic. Just be aware that when the casing ends are concealed under the elastic, the boning will not span the entire width of the seam. It will be shorter by at least the inner stitching on the elastic. If I am going to take the extra step of adding boning to the side seam, I want the full effect so I use the method described in this post.

One Trick I Teach in All My Workshops by Orange Lingerie

One Trick I Teach in All My Workshops

One Trick I Teach in All My Workshops by Orange Lingerie

There is a simple way to be sure that your hook and eye closure fits onto your bra precisely. It can even be done after most of the sewing is complete! If you have my book you already know this handy tip and I make sure to teach this technique in all my workshops!

Because bra kit materials come in varying sizes, it is a good idea to start by examining your pattern and your supplies before you cut your fabric. Among other things, you want to compare the height of your hook and eye closure to what the pattern allows. The area you are measuring on the pattern is the finished width of the center back as shown below on the bra band.

Measuring Finished Height of Band by Orange Lingerie

If there is a difference between your hook and eye closure height and what the pattern allows, just mark your closure height and redraw a smooth scooping line that meets this mark. Shown below is a decrease in height followed by an illustration of an increase in height at the center back.

Band Too Tall for Closure Pattern Adjustment by Orange LingerieBand Too Short for Closure Pattern Adjustment by Orange Lingerie

Even with pre-sewing adjustments, sometimes things can get a bit off in the sewing process! It can be a slippery stretchy fabric or just a bobble starting or stopping the elastic attachment that changes the finished height of your bra band. Whatever the reason, you should get in the habit of checking that rear closure height of the bra before you finish the scoop of the band.

To check the bra closure height, hold up the hook or eye piece, depending on the side (you need to check both sides!), to make sure it will fit on nicely onto the bra.

If the area is too tall for the closure, the scoop elastic or fold over elastic will need to be attached lower. After marking the new lower point, cut a new back scoop that goes through that marking.

Band Too Tall Post Sewing Adjustment by Orange Lingerie

If the area is too short – also a problem – the trim needs to be attached so that it adds height to the closure area. To find that point, hold up the elastic or trim you will be using to the scoop area and adjust the trim positioning until you have added enough height to the band to attach to the closure. Now mark the point below the trim at the center back and use that mark, not the edge of the fabric as the guide for attaching the scoop trim.

Band Too Small Post Sewing Adjustment by Orange Lingerie

Of course, if you forget to make these adjustments, you can always make a custom size closure using my Leverett sewing pattern!