Friday, 26 December 2014

Panel Pants II

I've finally got round to photographing another pair of panel pants I made a few weeks ago!

Initially I wanted to overlay the black lacey fabric on top of the red velvet that I previously used on the front of my pants only this time use it as a back panel. I got everything cut out and was ready to sew together but I could NOT get the two layers of back, the gusset and the front layer to match up when sewing the main gusset seam! I attempted a few times but gave up before ruining all my pieces. I had stretched my front and gusset pieces out a little too much though, so I cut the bottom off and inserted a new middle/front piece which seemed to work.

My favourite thing about this pair was using the lace as the side panels. I used french seams to attach the side panels, they look neat but it made the elastic a bit lumpy when I attached it to the top. I finished them off with a little bow (pinched from a pair of Primark pants!). Yay


Secrets of Sewing Lingerie Boudoir Blushes Camisole and Shorts

This is my second make from the fabulous Secrets of Sewing Lingerie book!

I chose to have a go at this one as it seemed fairly simple in comparison to some of the other project, but also a good way to combine some of my new skills! The vest is made from two pieces cut on the fold and the front piece has one straight dart for each boob. The book suggests using a silk satin fabric to make the set from, but I decided to go for a crepe-back satin at £7.99 p/m. I found this fabric was less likely to fray quite so badly, but also had less drape than a silk fabric would have. If I have another go at this pattern in the future I think I might try a silk fabric in red. I was tricked into buying pink fabric after I saw how good the one in the book looked, then realised I don't really wear pink! Doh!

After sewing in the darts the next step was french seams along the side seams. I was quite proud of how neat they came out! My attention to accuracy at college is definitely paying off. When pressing the fabric I found it could withstand a lot more heat than silk could have, so that's another point in the crepe's favour!

The lace trim hides a sneaky reverse hem which I'd never tried before. I chose to use a zigzag stitch along the lace to make sure the hem was secure. I still need to practice joining the lace where it meets (I think I did it different each time!), but I don't think you would notice if I hadn't said anything!

It took me a few attempts before I got the hang of just where to stitch when doing the shell stitch around the top of the back. I ended up going round and marking every 3cm so that they didn't come out wonky! I quite like the effect though- another sneaky way of doing a hem without anyone stitches showing!

To make the straps for this garment I was required to make two long pieces of rouleau. Not done this before! It's fairly easy in theory but I did find that the width of my straps was a bit wobbly which wasn't ideal once they were folded and sewn into place. I will be extra careful next time. The attaching of the straps was fairly simple- my hand stitching is not great but shhhh!

The shorts were also made from two pieces of fabric and sewn together with french seams. The top features an encased elastic waistband. For the first time I did a row of stitching along the top and the bottom of the casing before inserting the elastic and found it looks 100x more professional! Will have to be careful in future if I do this not to make the case too narrow for the elastic though.
The shorts also feature a cute little petal gusset where the french seams meet between the legs. I followed the instructions in the book which told me to attach this before adding the lace around the leg holes. This backfired and I had to take the gusset off again later so that the stitching around the reverse hem of the legs didn't go over the gusset. Ooops!

The final adornment was the double box bow that was added to the front of the waistband. I could have hidden my join in the stitching behind this but I'd joined my stitches at the back! I am really happy with the way my bow turned out, though a little disappointed you can't see it when I have the camisole on!

My main regret is not making the set in red with black lace instead. But there's always next time!


Saturday, 13 December 2014

Secrets of Sewing Lingerie Babycakes Bra

After having a go at a few pairs of knickers I have really got the lingerie-making bug! I picked up Katherine Sheers and Laura Stanford's Secrets Of Sewing Lingerie book so I could have a go at a few different patterns.

The book covers all kinds of different makes and all the sections are really well explained and illustrated. The only thing putting me off getting started was collecting all the different materials needed. The lady in the fabric shop looked rather blankly at me when I said I wanted a swan-hook. Luckily for me I had a few old bras at hand so recycled hoops and sliders off the straps.

I was relived to find that the Babycakes Bra only required to pieces cutting out- the rest relied on careful alignment of lace and elastic! After having practiced darts over the past couple of months I felt quite confident with the cup darts. I was pleased to find they were a perfect fit!
The pattern suggested using rigid tulle, but it seemed a little difficult to get hold of round here. Instead I used a stretchier lacy tulle-type fabric. I'm not sure if I would need to make the next cup size up if I were to use a rigid fabric next time.

Another material I struggled to get hold of was 'strap'. The pattern suggests buying 2 meters of the stuff, but the strap I found in local haberdasheries was definitely no good for lingerie. There is a real lack of fancy elastic around here too. In the end I ended up buying a pair of ready-made detachable straps (boo) and butchering some old ones so they had hoops instead of detachable hooks. They were surprisingly easy to sew though which was a relief!

The centreback of the pattern features this snazzy gated swan-hook type fastening. This was really the only thing on my bra I wasn't really happy with. Firstly the strap I used was clearly different on the front and back so the folding of it looks really obvious. Secondly it was really difficult to get the angles of each triangle to match. it was important they were the same length and met in the middle. The positioning and the angling of the join to the back of the bra was also really important. I thought I'd done an okay job until I tried it on and found the end of the wings that join the strap both buckle up in the middle. I thought putting the final strip of strap over the top of the join as a kind of boning would help hold it down, but it just seems to have accentuated it! I am thinking about maybe finding some actual boning and seeing if that will help it keep the right shape.

I am really looking forward to having a go at some more of the things from the book. There is a satin shorts and cami set with my name all over it!


Currently listening to: Calexico, Trigger (Revisited)