Thank you all so much for the enthusiastic response to our new Lansdowne bra sewing pattern! There are so many beautiful bras that you can make with this new style and I wanted to share some of my favorite looks that you can create using this pattern.
STYLE 1: FLORAL CUPS WITH MATCHING LACE Monni Plunge Push-Up by Etam (photo credit: unknown)
This look is so fresh and fun! Match your favorite boldly patterned fabric with a solid colored lace which echoes at least one of the colors of the fabric (in this case white, but there are many possibilities). Florals are a classic, but I can also see this with tropical and animal prints. You can also try matching the power net of the band with the lace color for a visually harmonious look.
I love a bright and sunny bra, and this style will work with your favorite color as well. Simply use a lace that is exactly or just slightly off the color of your base fabric. Overlapping the two will create depth to the color thanks to the texture of the lace, and even more so if your base fabric is just slightly darker. For a more daring look, you can even try a neon colored lace over a brightly colored fabric of the same tone.
This time the base fabric has a lighter color than the lace, which highlights the lace pattern itself. Here the delicate floral lace motif seems to be delicately climbing over the fabric. Any pastel color will work as a base, as long as it is very light, and this is a great opportunity to use a subtly multicolored lace on top.
STYLE 4: ART DECO BLACK & GOLD WITH SATIN UPPER CUP
Geometric patterns can also make for sexy bras! Think 1920s style, with refined dark prints highlighted with a touch of warm gold or copper. I like how making a simple upper cup in a solid dark satin makes the print of the lower cup stand out – you could even say that the print gives the illusion of being lace! The very clean lines make for a coherent and slick Art Deco inspired bra.
As always, I cannot wait to see what each of you will make with the new Lansdowne bra pattern! Do not forget to tag #orangelingerie on social media if you would like to share your version.
https://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/blo05_featured.jpg600900Mandarinehttps://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/logo.pngMandarine2018-08-22 06:45:572018-08-21 13:48:33Inspiration for Sewing the Lansdowne Bra
In the last post I shared some of my favorite lingerie inspired looks that you can create starting with the Esplanade bra sewing pattern. In this post I will show you how to alter the pattern so you can get the look!
These looks are largely the result of shortening or lengthening the Esplanade bra and in the case of the bra on the bottom left, altering the cup shape.
Before you get started, remember, all pattern changes are made from the seam or trim line (the dashed line) on the pattern pieces.
How to Shorten the Bra
To shorten the height of the bra, simply draw a new seam line parallel to the bottom trim line of the bridge, frame, and band pattern pieces. Make sure the distance to the original line is consistent throughout the pieces. Do not forget to add the new cut line as well!If you want to be absolutely sure of the way the alteration will look on your body before cutting into your final fabric, you can make a toile, and mark the exact location you would like the bra to end on the body and then transfer those changes to the pattern.
Note: Decreasing the height of the bra decreases the support of the bra and the ability of the bra to stay put on the body, so I would only consider this an option for A to C cup sizes.
How to Lengthen the Bra
While decreasing the height of the bra is relatively straightforward, lengthening it requires that you test out the modified pattern on a toile first to make sure that the garment conforms to your body shape the entire span of its new length. Remember, you should only be able to get two fingers underneath the back of a well fitting bra. This is especially important for strapless bras that really rely on support from the band.
The easiest way to lengthen the band is to start by creating new rough pattern pieces by extending the existing seam lines of the original bridge to frame seam line and squaring out and extending the frame to band lines. Extend the center back following the existing seam line.
This alteration will intentionally make the band too wide, so that it is possible to remove fabric AT THE SIDE SEAM to get to the perfect fit. Remember, it is always easier to subtract fabric rather than trying to add fabric that isn’t there in the first place!
For now, copy the shape of the bottom of the original pieces. All your extensions should come roughly to the same bottom line, (easy to check by putting them side by side as in the diagram below), but you will redraw the final bottom edge later. Also be sure to mark the original side seam line on the garment to act as your guide for achieving a nice angle on the side seam.
Once you have cut your fabric from the modified pattern and basted your toile together, try it on, pinching and pinning the fabric at the original seam mark to get a close fit. Remember to pinch symmetrically on your left and right, in order to remove the same amount of fabric on each side.
When you are happy with the fit, transfer the new side seam to the pattern pieces and create a smooth line all around the base of the bra.
How to Change the Shape of the Bra Cups
When changing the upper cup shape be sure keep the height of the upper cup at the wire line. As a strapless bra, it is important for the Esplanade bra to use longer underwires. If you have read my Anatomy of a Bra article in Seamwork Magazine, you know that underwires are key to providing support.
Because the upper cup of the Esplanade bra is fairly narrow and nearly straight across, it is not possible to decrease its height. You can, however, increase the height of the upper cup or change its shape. Just mark your shape changes from the “fold over foam” line on the upper cup fabric pattern pieces and directly to the top of the foam pattern pieces.
I highly recommend making a toile to test the new shape to be sure it conforms to your body!
How to add Straps to the Bra
Another great and simple modification for the Esplanade bra is to add straps. For detachable straps, you can read my tutorial on how to add detachable bra straps to the Esplanade bra, Part 1 and Part 2.
If you want to make the straps permanent, simply bar tack the straps to the bra in the desired location once you have completed sewing the garment. If you prefer, with advance planning you can conceal the strap attachment under the band elastic as well as under the cup covering.
To conceal the strap attachment on the front of the bra, stitch the strap between the cup covering and foam cup attachment seam. Conceal the final strap attachment bar tack by sewing through the foam cup and the cup covering seam allowance, keeping the cup covering free. Once you flip the cup covering over the foam, the strap join is hidden.
In terms of placement, as a rule of thumb start by placing the front straps at the external edge of the cup seam. This will read as a continuation of the underarm curve up along the shoulder, for a harmonious look.
There are so many great options for transforming the Esplanade bra, which one do you want to try first?
https://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/blo03_featured_II.jpg600900Mandarinehttps://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/logo.pngMandarine2018-07-25 07:00:512018-07-25 06:56:28Get the look! Pattern Modifications for the Esplanade Bra
Once again, we have teamed up with Tailor Made Shop to create bra making kits, this time for the Berkeley bra sewing pattern! We looked through hundreds of stretch laces to select materials for these new kits.
My favorite part of the bra kit development process has to be sewing up the samples. I love the reveal of what each kit looks like when it is all sewn up into the final garment! I hope you love each color-way as much as I do!
Pictured in turn below is a pale beige pink, a white and black lace (available with black or white findings), a gorgeous navy with red, and finally, the one you all asked for, the white and pink that I shared when the pattern was released!
I can’t wait to see your version of the Berkeley bra! Be sure to tag your make with #BerkeleyBra and #OrangeLingeriexTMS so we can find yours!
https://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Berkeley-Bra-Kits-Blog-Image.png400495Normahttps://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/logo.pngNorma2017-10-26 09:00:212017-10-26 08:05:07Berkeley Bra Making Kits Available Now!
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!
https://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Lingerie-Laundry.png400495Normahttps://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/logo.pngNorma2017-08-23 10:34:172018-08-06 22:15:17How to Launder Lingerie While Traveling
I 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.
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:
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!
In 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!
https://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/495x400-lace-upper-cup-foam-post.png400495Normahttps://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/logo.pngNorma2017-03-21 07:18:042018-08-09 01:53:46How to Make a Lace Upper Cup for a Foam Cup Bra
If your holidays are anything like mine, you are looking for last minute gifts. Right NOW! Preferably for things that will arrive before Christmas. Well, if you have a bra maker on your list, things just got easier for you! If you act fast, every item below will arrive before Sunday if you order in the next day or so. Easy, right?
Gingher 6-Inch Applique Scissors. I use these for every bra I make. They are my favorite tool for trimming away extra fabric behind the first pass of elastic or for grading seams.
Sulky Temporary Spray Adhesive. This air dissolvable temporary bonder is really helpful when working with multiple layers of fabric. I use this to temporarily bond lace over fabric so I can handle the two layers as one throughout the construction process. Definitely a must have for me.
If you just want to surprise them, get one of these fun extras:
Polar Notions Fabric Organizers. These have really helped me organize all my bra making fabrics. Just wind the fabric or lace around these plastic bolts and then stack or organize on a book shelf. Now I can see all my fabrics at a glance!
Now that a little bit more of your shopping is sorted you can relax and have a happy and healthy holiday season!
Disclosure: Please note that the links for books and equipment and supplies above are affiliate links. This means that I will be compensated if you choose to make a purchase after clicking through.
https://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2-3.jpg400495Normahttps://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/logo.pngNorma2016-12-19 14:15:432016-12-20 13:32:12Last Minute Bra Makers Gift Guide!
This fall has been busy! In addition to working on new patterns for 2017, over the last two months I taught three sold out bra making workshops! The most recent class at Stitch Sew Shop was my classic two-day workshop where I teach students how to construct their own professional looking bra and how to fit the Marlborough bra to their figure. I never tire of seeing students get super excited to discover they now have the sewing superpowers to make their own bras!
I already posted a recap of what the first day of my workshops looks like so I won’t review that here. The second day of my two-day workshop is all about fitting, making pattern adjustments and sewing up another bra to reinforce new bra making skills so students will be able to make their own bras at home on their own after they leave class.
The second day of class starts with students trying on the bra they made on the first day of class. I examine the fit and notate any necessary pattern changes. Once the group has been fitted I walk them through how to make each pattern change and then check their work before they cut out another bra.
Pattern changes for this group included altering the bra band, removing excess material from the upper cup, increasing the cup volume and moving the straps. I have covered a couple of these changes previously (see links above) and I will be adding posts for the remainder shortly. As requested, I will also write a post on how to move the straps of the Marlborough bra since it is done a bit differently than for the Boylston bra.
For the second bra students get their pick from a variety of bra making kits ranging from a versatile beige to a hot pink to a leopard lace! As usual, the brightest and boldest kits were selected first. Of course if students still want to practice their new skills they usually have enough white material to make another white bra, but no one has ever done that!
The second bras come together much faster than the first day and once complete I provide another fitting. At this point the fit is usually quite good with only a few small refinements recommended to further fine tune the fit. Once again I notate the changes and demonstrate how to make any remaining pattern changes so students can leave class with a fitted Marlborough pattern.
In terms of the venue, Stitch Sew Shop is lovely! They use Bernina machines (my favorite) for classes. They even have my favorite iron, the Reliable i300. I love that iron so much! Their massive cutting table was also a hit. If you live in the Arlington, VA area I highly recommend checking out this beautiful shop!
https://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/3.jpg400495Normahttps://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/logo.pngNorma2016-11-21 05:15:072016-11-20 07:46:12Bra Making Workshop Fitting Day Recap
Once again, the new size range is a separate pattern because grading sizes above DD is quite different than grading sizes below DD and there were also a few necessary changes to the pattern to get the same styling, lift and shaping for the new size range.
To refine the fit and grading for the new size range, I was once again very fortunate to have the support of some amazing fit models including Jenny from Cashmerette! Jenny tried on nearly a half dozen variations of the Boylston bra to find the perfect fit. (By the way, I recommend checking out her patterns which are available by cup size!)
https://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/495x400-Boylston-More-Sizes.jpg400495Normahttps://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/logo.pngNorma2016-10-03 09:11:232018-08-30 12:28:54New Boylston Bra Pattern for DDD to J Cups!
With the release of the new size range for the Marlborough bra sewing pattern, I thought it would be a good time to review some bra sewing pattern adjustments. Since I have had requests for larger band sizes, I am going to start with a tutorial on how increase a bra band.
For some background, I draft my bands based on the ideal bra fit that I describe in this post. To provide the best support, my general rule is that you should not be able to get more than two fingers under the band.
The good news is that adjusting a bra band is really simple. Let’s start by taking a look at the size range of the DDD to J cup pattern shown below. The recommended wire size is in the far left hand column followed by sister sizes as you read across the table. The sizes in black text are included in the pattern and the grayed out sizes are some of the sister sizes.
“Sister size” is a bra term that means that the cup volume is the same, only the band is different. For example, the 34J, 36I, 38H, 40G and 42DDD all use the size 50 wire, they are sister sizes and all have the same cup volume. The difference between those sizes is in the band.
So let’s talk about how to get those grayed out sizes!
Amount to Add to the Bra Band
To make it super easy for you, the table below tells you what you need to add to the band of the Marlborough DDD to J cup size pattern depending on how many band sizes you want to add.
Now for the step-by-step pattern changes!
How to Add to the Bra Band
I wanted to make it super easy to add to the bra band for this size range so all you need to do is increase the span of the band. My favorite way to make this adjustment is to find the flattest area of the band, use a slash and spread technique to make the increase then smooth the lines to get your new enlarged band pattern piece. The slash and spread technique means you don’t have to mess with truing up the side seam.
Here are the step-by-step instructions:
Find the flattest point of the band pattern piece and at that point draw a line parallel to the side seam.
Cut along the line you drew in Step 2 and spread the band apart by the amount needed.
Smooth out the lines of the band (I left I the original lines so you can how this looks).
As with all pattern adjustments, I highly recommend making a toile (a.k.a. a muslin) before making your final garment. Remember, it is easier to take away from a band that is too large versus trying to add to a band that is too small!
I have more pattern adjustment posts on the way! If there is anything in particular that you are interested in learning about, let me know in the comments!
https://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2.jpg400495Normahttps://www.orange-lingerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/logo.pngNorma2016-08-30 10:17:592018-08-10 09:59:51How to Increase a Bra Band
Ever since I released the Marlborough bra sewing pattern, the number one request I receive is to add more sizes. So starting today a new Marlborough bra sewing pattern is available for DDD to J cups for size 30 to 40 bands. I am super excited to be able to make this beautiful bra sewing pattern available to even more sewists!
The new size range is a separate pattern primarily because grading sizes above DD is different than grading sizes below DD. Also, as you would expect, there were a few changes to the pattern to get the same styling, lift and shaping for the new size range.
To refine the fit and grading for the new size range, I was incredibly fortunate to have the support of some amazing fit models including Jenny from Cashmerette! Jenny was incredibly patient, trying on multiple variations of the Marlborough bra to find the perfect fit! I recommend checking out her patterns which are available by cup size!
For your reference, here is a sister size chart for the new pattern. You can read my post about sister sizing that includes a tutorial on how to alter the band to get the sister sizes that are outside of the pattern range (the gray text in this table).
Happy bra making everyone!
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