Okay, so we’ve not arrived at any of my actual garment makes yet – again! Now that I have a bit more time on my hands (finished semester, if not exams), the weather and the availability of my family to act as photographers still thwarts me. I have the post all written up and everything – just no photos, damn it! So for now, you’re going to have to enjoy some more of what I CAN photograph myself – underwear!
Being part of a couple of bra-making forums on Facebook, and following the blogs of many talented and accomplished sewers, I see many, many beautiful pieces of handmade lingerie on a daily basis. We hear about the construction trials and tribulations, the fitting successes and failures. But my big question always is – how wearable is it? I think we all know the experience of finding a lovely piece of underwear that fits well – but discovering after a day or two that it is completely unwearable; it rides up, it digs in, it does not stay where it is supposed to at all. And so often, I think, we rush to blog about our creations as soon as we’ve finished them, keen to share our sewing journey and success; when we know they fit, but before we knowhow they fare in daily life.
So what I’ve set out to do today? Report on wearability!
Despite it being exam period, I was too keen to try out my new toy (a rotary cutter and cutting mat – which I will gush over more below!), so I cut out two new pairs of underwear in the hot pink milliskin left over from my Grey’s Fabric Watson Kit (the kit is designed to make the Watson in view A or B and a matching bikini – but my sizes are small enough that I should be able to get TWO bras and TWO pairs of underwear by the time I’m done!!); a Watson bikini, and a pair of Rosy ladyshorts, also from Cloth Habit.
Sewing and construction were fairly straightforward; I’ve made the Watson bikini before and cut out the same size, XS, and the Rosy ladyshorts in size 2. The instructions for the ladyshorts are not quite as detailed as those for the Watson – but it is a free pattern, and Amy has provided several very helpful tutorials for them on her site. Besides, sewing underwear is basically the easiest thing you can sew in my experience. I did have to unpick more than a few times, but that was mostly the fact that my machine is about three years overdue for a service, and I am not as careful as I should be 😛 For the Watson, instead of following the included instructions for the crotch lining, I used the method outlined in Amy’s sew-a-long, which encloses both seams.
Now the big question: how wearable are they?
I’d already made the Watson bikini for my purple lace set, but I haven’t worn them nearly as much as the matching bra. Partly because I don’t want them going through the wash that often, but mostly because they ride up, almost constantly. I don’t think this is a design flaw, though; I omitted leg elastic in that pair so I could use the scallop edge of the lace on the back. So this new milliskin pair with leg elastic, I am pleased to report, stay put. As for the ladyshorts? A great fit, but serial rider-uppers. Again, I don’t think this is to do with the design per se; I’ve seen plenty of very favourable reviews, and this is a pretty common problem for me (due in part to a severe lack of butt haha). I’ll still wear them, for sure, because they’re pretty and they MATCH THINGS, but if I make the pattern again, I might experiment with adding some more coverage at the back to see if that helps.
Now, the new toy! The only thing that ever really puts off sewing is cutting. It’s somehow not so bad for larger pieces; it’s monotonous, but the straight lines and gradual curves of bodices and circle skirts are somehow bearable. It’s the tiny curvy bits of lingerie patterns that get to me! It was a common sight, to see me curled up on the floor around a metre of lace, furiously massaging my poor cramped hand, painstakingly cutting out pieces. But no longer!
I picked up this little set from Spotlight for $35 and I’m never looking back! I’d been put off buying a mat, because they get exponentially more expensive as they get larger, but this little 12 x 18″ baby will do just fine for underwear patterns. It’s amazing what a difference it makes, being able to cut so quickly and easily. I cannot recommend one enough, especially if you sew lots of small patterns like lingerie which require fiddly cutting out. To say it’s been life-changing is probably something of a hyperbole, but I’ll stand by it. No excuses not to cut out that Marlborough now! A good thing, too, with those *three* Merckwaerdigh kits staring at me (I have a problem, I know).
So, hopefully next time we’ll finally see some garments! (probably not, at this rate, so look forward to some underwire bras, anyway!)
Miss Maddy x
- Milliskin – Grey’s Fabric Watson Kit
- Lace trim – Spotlight
- Rotary cutter and mat – Spotlight