Gift Guide for Bra Makers from Orange Lingerie

Gift Guide for Bra Makers

I can hardly believe that it is that time of year again! The holiday gift buying season is underway!

If you are looking for gifts for your favorite bra maker, I have a few ideas for you. From bra educational materials to bra making kits to the tools I am loving right now, here are some ideas to meet your holiday shopping needs this year:

If you are looking for a gift for someone who wants to learn how to make bras:

The book “Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction”
I wrote this book to cover everything you need to know to start sewing and fitting underwire bras. This book will get anyone’s bra making adventure off to a great start. If you need a gift for an advanced bra maker who wants to start drafting their own bras, I like Bare Essentials: Bras and the Pattern Making for Underwear Design books.

Orange Lingerie Sewing Patterns
All of our patterns have fully illustrated instructions that make it easy to understand how to make a bra. You can gift Orange Lingerie patterns by buying an Etsy gift card that they can then use in our Etsy shop or any of the other Etsy shops that accept the cards. Etsy also has several shops that sell bra making supplies!

Orange Lingerie Gift Guide

Orange Lingerie x Tailor Made Shop bra making kits
Kits make it easy to get started with bra making by taking the guess work out of what materials to use and by simplifying sourcing. I work directly with Tailor Made shop to create the Orange Lingerie x Tailor Made Shop bra making kits specifically for Orange Lingerie sewing patterns. There are some gorgeous kits for both the Berkeley Bra and Fenway Bra sewing patterns currently in stock.

Orange Lingerie Gift Guide - Kits

If you are looking for gifts to help make lingerie sewing easier, faster or just more fun:
Items are described as they appear from left to right in the image below the descriptions. 

Precision Shears
It is not always practical to use a rotary cutter to cut out patterns. There are times I need shears and these Kai shears are great.

Measuring Wheel
I love using measuring wheels to measure seam lines and everything else! The metric version is my favorite. This is especially helpful when drafting on paper.

Pattern Notcher
It is really important to mark lingerie patterns accurately to assist with construction. I rely on this tool to be sure my patterns are notched so all I need to do is go in with my water soluble marker on the fabric to get my project marked (you can see my tutorial on pattern marking here).

Bamboo Stiletto
Sometimes it is the little things! This tool helps control those tiny bits of fabric around around the presser foot of the sewing machine.

Pressing Bars
When I make bra straps from fabric, I like to use these pressing bars to get a strap that is even its entire length.

Loop turner
I need a good loop turner in the studio for making fabric straps, rouleau, etc. I have tried several options but keep coming back to this basic one. I also like the tube version (not pictured) for turning larger fabric tubes.

Pinking Shears
I am always raving about these unique pinking shears! They work like nothing else. I like to use them to finish seams on lightweight fabrics where a french seam would be too bulky.

Orange Lingerie Gift Guide - Notions

Sleeve board
A sleeve board really helps when making those perfect spaghetti straps (you get the entire spaghetti strap tutorial here) and also offers a lot of utility for pressing other lingerie projects. It is one of those great sewing tools that you will wonder how you ever did without!

Tailor ham stand
This stand is indispensable! This stand keeps the tailor ham in one place while pressing so I have a free hand to position the garment on the ham. This stand has a permanent home on my ironing board. If they don’t have one yet, be sure to add a tailor ham for a great and versatile gift set!

Orange Lingerie Gift Guide - Pressing Equipment

If you are looking for more gift ideas, take a look at my gift guide from last year! You can also check out the resources page to see all of the notions and supplies that I recommend for bra making.

Happy shopping!

Bra Making Workshop by Orange Lingerie

New Bra Making Workshops!

Bra Making Workshop by Orange LingerieIf learning to sew bras or to fit your own custom bra is on your list of sewing goals, we have some good news! We have two new bra making workshops set on the calendar for 2018!

In our classic two-day bra making workshops, you learn how to fit and sew your own custom underwire bra using our popular Marlborough bra sewing pattern. Norma Loehr, founder and creative director of Orange Lingerie, fits each student to determine their size and then instructs the class on every step of the underwire bra construction. Once you learn the construction techniques, Norma then shows you how to make any necessary adjustments to customize the fit of your bra. Did we mention that we also have a lot of fun?! You can read more about our workshops in the posts here and here.

So about those 2018 workshops! The first workshop of the year will be in Seattle at Drygoods Design on February 10-11, 2018. We are super excited about our first ever workshop on the west coast and spots are already filling up fast! Click here to sign up now!

UPDATE: WEEKEND WORKSHOP SOLD OUT! We recommend getting on the waitlist because you never know!

UPDATE: Since the weekend workshop sold out so quickly, we added another workshop for February 7-8, 2018. Click here to sign up now!

Orange Lingerie Workshop at Drygoods Design in Seattle

The next workshop of 2018 is on March 17-18 at Three Little Birds Sewing Co in Hyattsville, MD. This workshop is already half full so sign up now if you want to join us the Washington, D.C. area. Click here to sign up now!

UPDATE: SOLD OUT! We recommend getting on the waitlist because you never know!

Orange Lingerie teaching at Three Little Birds Sewing Co in Hyattsville MD

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

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!

Best practices for packing lingerie!
Best practices for packing lingerie!
Best practices for packing lingerie!
Best practices for packing lingerie!
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

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

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 to Launder Lingerie While Traveling #bramakingpattern #sewinginspiration #sewingpatterns #sewingprojects
How to Launder Lingerie While Traveling #bramakingpattern #sewinginspiration #sewingpatterns #sewingprojects


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!

How Much Lingerie Should You Pack? #bramakingpattern #sewinginspiration #sewingpatterns #sewingprojects
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!

Strategies for packing lingerie for traveling #bramaking #lingerie #brapattern #sewingprojects
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!