Thursday, June 27, 2013

Narrow straps

This is a way to make narrow straps from lycra that some designers use often in their lingerie. This technique can be used for other fabrics as well.
1 Cut a piece of lycra about 4 cm wide (1.5 inch). Cut the length you need plus a bit extra.

If you use other fabric, cut it on the bias
Stitch with a stitch with a little stretch (narrow zigzag, triple straight stitch), use the edge of your foot as a guide.  You can use the needle position to adapt the width of the strap a bit.
2 Trim the seam allowance. You trim of more than you started with, but if you start with a very narrow piece of fabric, it will not be transported properly by the feet dogs.
3 Turn the strap, I use a strap turner.
4 Example of how a strap can be used.
5 If you don’t want stretch in the strap, you can add strip of non-stretch tule.
6 When turning the strap it will be inside the strap.
7 The result. The upper one is the one with a strip of tule. It’s a bit thicker and has less tendency to curl.
A few inspiration bra’s from rtw, pictures are from the internet, the designer is Marlies Dekkers.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bridge from lace


This tutorial was published on my regular blog some years ago. It's not about constructing the complete bra, but only describes the construction of the center front/bridge when you want to make it with lace as in the photo below and the inspiration from rtw above.

  • There is a seam at center front, add a seam allowance to the pattern piece if necessary!
  • Cut the centerfront with the bottom edge on the scallop (deepest point of it). Don't use seam allowances there.
  • Sew the center front as you do normally (with non stretch interfacing) and attach it to the side/back panel.

  • Cut the elastic in the length you need and mark center front and the points to match the seam under the cup (in this way of working you have to measure your elastic, for me that is lengt of band minus 20%).
    I've marked with disappearing ink, you can also use pins.

  • Stitch the elastic with a small zigzag stitch to the bottom of the band, do NOT stitch the center front.
  • Trim the seam allowances if necessary
  • Fold the elastic to the inside and topstitch with a triple zigzag.
    In this way the center front of the elastic is held in place.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Balconet bra - part 4: finishing

This post describes the finishing steps of the bra construction.

In my pattern piece the shoulder strap is sewn at the edge at the back. Cut the back piece to match the hook/eye closure.
Cut the shoulder strap in two parts and stitch it to the back with a wide zigzag stitch. The edge of the strap is on the edge of the lycra. The strap is a bit overlapping at the end to cut it exactly straight later.
The seam allowance is trimmed and the ring is put over it.
Stitch the ring with a narrow, close zigzag stitch. Only then cut off the shoulder strap. This is so much easier to do than sewing with a short piece of strap.
Cut the shoulder strap in the same line as the lycra.
Attach the hook and eye, also with a zigzag stitch.

The remaining piece of shoulder strap is sewn to the slider
This piece of strap is pulled though the ring from back to front.
Then throught the slider
Wires and boning are inserted and all ends are closed with a narrow zigzag stitch (center front, under the arm, underside of boning).
The shoulder straps are sewn to the cups with a zigzag stitch. Try the most comfortable place before attaching.
My dressform is wider in this area than I am and I can’t close the bra on it. But you can see the back are getting shape while the pattern piece is almost straight.
The last finishing touch is is of course the bow.

Balconet bra - part 3: inserting the cups

The next step in constructing the bra is inserting the cups.
Pin the cups into the band. In my pattern the cups have a seam allowance of 3.5 mm, the band 6 mm. That’s why I have the band extending the cup a bit. Easy to see when pinning, but of course you could work with the same seam allowances.

Stitch the cup with a straight stitch just beside the zigzag stitch that holds the lace to the cup.
Important is matching the center front point at both sides and at the side seam.
The cups are inserted.
Stitch the wire chanelling with a straight stitch to the cups. Match the wire channelling with the stitching of the cup. On this preformed cup I found it easy to without pinning first.
On the outside the wire channelling is topstitched. This can be done once on the outer edge of the channelling only, or twice. Then an extra row is stitched very close to the cup.

I always do it twice and have the feeling that it makes this area more flat after you’ve put the wire in. In this style it might not make that much of a difference

Topstitch the outside line of the wire channelling for the boning too.

Next: part 4 - finishing

Balconet bra - part 2, band construction

This post describes the construction of the bra band. In this bra I’ve used boning at the side of the cups for extra stability. Therefor the pattern piece is divided in two pieces.
The first photo is of the original pattern from Paula of Kantje Boord, the second photo is a mix from that pattern piece (the cup part) and the band I use for myself. For me this band is comfortable and does not ride up. When trying other patterns I mostly still use this band pattern. It has the “downward hike” which is good for me and though it looks very vertical, it has a nice curve when worn.
The photo below shows a piece of the wire chanelling, above and below are the seam allowances for inserting the cup and attaching the picot elastic. Under the cup there won’t be more than the width of the wire chanelling.
The elastic will be sewn under the wire chanelling.
Cut the band pieces. As I use lycra here the center front (bridge) can be cut on the fold.
The center front part is interfaced with a non stretch tule. Stitch the tule on the right side of the lycra.
Fold the tule to the wrong side of the lycra and topstitch.
I use a long zigzag stitch to secure both layers. Stitch in the seam allowance.
The lycra I’m using is too stretchy for me and I use a thin stretch tule as interfacing. This is also attached with a zigzag stitch.
Whether this is necessary completely depends  on your lycra and/or the amount of support you need. If you use a stable lycra, you will probably not need this (I don’t in that case, and I’m an E/F cup).
Stitch the center front and side part together. For the boning stitch a piece of wire channelling very close to the seam but don’t stitch to the edge. Leave some room for turning the elastic.
Stitch picot elastic at the top and bottom of the band. The right side of the elastic is up and the picot side is on the side of the band.

This is a photo of how I stitch the elastic: the lycra I keep at the 0,5 mm mark at the stitch plate, the elastic a bit to the right of it.
The needle is in the left position and I use a small zigzag stitch (on my machine 2.5 width, 2.2 length).
I pull the elastic a little, stitch, pull a litte, stitch just below the picot edge.

Until recently I measured my elastic and pinned it. At a workshop at Kantje Boord I learned to do it like this, which is more efficient in sewing and no need to trim the seam allowances afterwards. So much quicker.
At the cup side the seam allowance is kept free of elastic, to prevent bulk.
Fold the elastic to the wrong side and topstitch with a triple zigzag. At the top the elastic is folded over the wire chanelling for the boning. Less irritation under your arm when worn.
Don’t topstitch the wire chanelling at the bottom! The boning still needs to be inserted.You could do that now, prior to topstitching the elastic, but I prefer to do it later to keep it all flexible till the last minute.
The band is fnished now
The next photo shows the wire channelling for the boning: at the top under the elastic, at the bottom it’s not closed yet.

Next part: part 3 – inserting the cups