One thing that inspired me to sew underwear was the fact that I could put all those leftover fabric scraps to some use. All those little bits and pieces of cotton, silk, jersey, precious lace – tiny remnants too precious to discard, or too large to throw away guilt-free. In my sewing room all scraps are now scrutinised for their potential as future lingerie components. And this month I actually put that theory into practice – meet my new remnant bra and undies:
This remnant was a grey marle viscose/wool/elastane jersey left over from a tank top. I haven’t blogged about the tank top yet, but I am already blogging about what I made from its remnants!
The undies pattern is the Basic Brief from Porcelynne that I printed out one day when I ventured down the internet rabbit warren. It’s quite a different shape to my own block, so I thought I’d try it to compare the fit. The pattern download had no sewing instructions or fabric recommendations, but I guess this info is in the designers book.
A pattern is of limited use without knowing these factors as varying them can considerably change the fit. There are a few things I’d change if I were to sew these again in this type of fabric, but I’m not keen to critique the pattern without knowing the designers intended fabric and construction methods. Just like I wouldn’t like someone to critique my pattern if they were to go and use fabric not specified in the instructions, or to cut and sew it using alternative construction techniques.
That said, I am happy to critique the bra pattern as it is my own! It is developed from a bra block that I drafted recently from Kristina Shin’s book Patternmaking for Underwear Design. My first bra made from this block was in lace and fitted almost perfectly, so I cut another out of the remnants of the above mentioned undies. I had to get a little creative and add a side seam to squeeze all the pieces out of crazy fabric shapes like this one:
Just got there!
There was a smidgen of turquoise satin elastic remaining from the undies, so inserted it along the top edge of the cup and the newly created side seam:
When trying the bra on it was too large in the cups. I should have realised this at the time as the stitching had stretched the fabric out. I expected it to press back to shape but it didn’t, so I unpicked almost everything (whose stupid idea was it to topstitch in 3-step zig-zag ALL the seams…) and resewed it again. It fits better, but is still not perfect along the upper edge due to the pattern alteration and not having enough seam allowance. And there are quite a few joins in the stitching!
Definitely not my best quality work, and I am half expecting this bra to start unravelling after a few washes. So I wasn’t too disappointed when I discovered a small hole in the band!
Luckily I also discovered that my new machine has a darning stitch. I gave it a trial, and the results are really good – can you spot the repair in the above shot? It is only just visible in the grey marle and should hold the test of time. Before I darned the hole I placed a small piece of fusing on the reverse, and trimmed the excess away after darning:
For this bra I used a lot of salvaged trims. The underwires, the straps, rings and sliders, and that all important bow, were all from old bras. The underwire channeling, picot elastic and cup lining were from a batch that I recently dyed grey for another project, and the underbust elastic and hook and eye were previous purchases from Elle Joan’s.
Most of these trims were destined for a future grey lace bra, so I might have to rethink that one. Not sure why this remnant bra became more important! I guess there is an innate satisfaction about creating something from nothing, especially in today’s throwaway world.