Everyone 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.
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 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.
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!
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Lingerie 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.
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!
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!).
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.
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!
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By 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!
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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!
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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!
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Once 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!
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.
Finally, I had to make a Fenway in this peachy pink lace. I love the contrast black trim and stitching.
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!
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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.
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.
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.
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.
To finish, sew a bar tack across the boning casing close to the bottom of the bra to seal the boning inside.
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.
https://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Boning-and-Boning-Casing-by-Orange-Lingerie.png400495Normahttps://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/logo.pngNorma2017-06-06 06:19:092017-06-05 11:24:31An Easy Way to Add Support to your Bra
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.
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.
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.
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.
Of course, if you forget to make these adjustments, you can always make a custom size closure using my Leverett sewing pattern!
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I have heard from a few Fenway bra makers that their fold over elastic does not have a very firm stretch. If this is the case for you, there is a simple solution! I use this same method when I want to use a decorative trim that is technically just a bit too stretchy for bra making.
In addition to your elastic trim you will need clear rubber elastic. Clear elastic is thin and smooth so it does not add bulk while adding strength and elasticity to the area.
The width of the clear elastic you use should be nearly equal to the finished width of your trim. In the case of fold over elastic, this will be ½ of the total width of the elastic and for other trims, make sure the width of clear elastic will be covered by the trim.
In the case of fold over elastic, when you are ready to apply your elastic, start by zigzag stitching the clear elastic to the bra along the bra edge on the wrong side of the bra. If necessary, use a 3-step zigzag stitch to prevent tunneling of the fabric and elastic. Follow by applying the fold over elastic as directed.
If you are using trim that needs some extra firmness, the method of application is determined by the area of application. Just keep in mind that you want to be sure the clear elastic is not positioned on top of any plush elastic and that it is not visible from the right side of the fabric.
For the standard two-step elastic application process used in my bra sewing patterns, you can sandwich the clear elastic between the right side of the garment and the lingerie elastic and apply the lingerie elastic as usual.
Don’t you just love all the options you have when making your own bras?!
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Sometimes you want to use a lightweight cut and sew foam for bra making to add some extra support and create an extra smooth profile. Since the Fenway bra is a frameless (partial band) style, and often has a sheer contrast upper cup, the procedure is a bit different from what you are used to. It is also a lot of fun to sew up!
This tutorial will show you the simplest method to add foam to the Fenway bra. This method avoids folding foam which is a big no-no in bra making. I also think this method is really cool since the foam cup remains free floating in the bra. Let me show you what I mean!
Making Foam Cups
To keep the sheer upper cup, foam will only be added to the lower cup. The first step is to create pattern pieces for foam lower cups by removing all the seam allowances as shown by the orange lines below. This is super easy with the Fenway bra sewing pattern since all the seam lines are clearly marked. Be sure to transfer the notch markings so you can be sure to get your foam lower cup pieces aligned properly throughout the construction process.
Sewing the Foam Cups
If you have made my Esplanade bra sewing pattern or read my article in Threads magazine, you know that to sew foam you butt the edges of the pieces together and use zigzag stitch to join the pieces. I like to use a 4.0mm wide 3-step zigzag stitch.
While you could cover that zigzag seam with tricot tape, I tend to leave it as is since adding any material to the foam means adding some bulk and/or potential body irritation. I also like to keep construction as simple as possible!
You will want to finish the upper edge of the lower cup with either a 3-step zigzag or overlock stitch. I usually just run that upper edge through my overlock machine. This not only finishes the upper edge of the cup but it also serves to flatten the area to eliminate any potential foam bump in the finished garment.
Adding Foam Cups to the Bra
Assemble the bra as usual up to the point where you are ready to topstitch the underwire casing.
Before turning the underwire casing to the inside of the cups, align the foam lower cup with the lower cup area of the fabric cup. Work your way around the upper cup to lower cup seam line, aligning the lower cup seams. You can baste the foam in place or use pins on the right side of the bra.
Remember, you removed the seam allowances of the foam cup so with accurate cutting and sewing the foam will fit precisely below the lower cup to upper cup seam and above the line where the casing was sewn on to the cup. If this is not the case for you, trim the foam along the lower edge so it will not be folded when the casing is topstitched into place but will be covered by the folded over casing.
Next, turn the casing over the foam and topstitch the casing as usual. The foam cup will be secured only around the wire line along the bottom edge of the lower cup.
Yet another way you can sew up the Fenway bra! Have fun!
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