As I predicted, semester had been severely getting in the way of my sewing time (as it is wont to do). But it HAS given me the impetus to finally write up this little something which I’ve been sitting on for a while. May I present to you: my very first tutorial!
I never really thought I’d write or post tutorials; I feel like such a relatively inexperienced sewer, it never occurred to me that people might want to see how I did things and learn from it – and I’m forever relying on everyone else’s tutorials myself. But I have had a couple of requests recently about a couple of lingerie making techniques, and I am more than happy to oblige 🙂 First up: how to cut and seal underwires! I feel like this is not a step discussed or used often, even on lingerie-sewing blogs, and I can only assume this is because, unlike me, everyone else magically has underwires that fit their bra patterns. However, I bought mine in bulk, which, whilst great for my budget, has resulted in quite a bit of underwire cutting, as they’re too long for my patterns. Seeing as I’ve got quite the technique down now, I am more than happy to share!
I apologise for the slight blurriness of some of the pictures, I didn’t realise until I was editing them – too late then! Also, if you’d like to know more about the different types of underwire, may I refer you to a recent post on the subject by Ana of AFI? 🙂
- Not pictured here – mark the cutting position! Easy enough to do: insert the wires into the casing as far as they will go, and mark the spot where the casing ends (and careful not to mark the casing (do not ask how I know this)!). Then, remove the wires, and mark another spot .75 cm or 1/4″ down from the original spot. This is to allow for wire play so the wires don’t burst through the ends during wear.
- Cut your wires. There are a couple of ways to do this: either you can use a wire cutter, or do what I do (pictured below) and use a metal saw (if you use wire cutters, remember eye protection!). Either way, insert the wire into a vice to keep it steady, and cut!
3. To seal my wires, I use heat shrink tubing. Typically used to cover exposed joins between electrical wires, you should be able to get it (and a heat-shrink gun) from most hardware stores (though I’m lucky enough to have access to my dad’s!). Pick a small diametre of tubing that just fits over the cut end of the wire. Trim it to leave a small amount hanging off the end.
4. Use the heat shrink gun to seal the tubing onto the wire. The excess hanging over should shrink until it’s almost closed.
5. Fold the little “tail” over, and put another piece of tubing over the top (you may have to size up on the diameter this time). Trim to size, this time cutting as close as you can to the end of the wire – but make sure you don’t cut the first layer of tubing! Shrink the new layer of tubing down with the gun.
And there you have it! Nicely sealed underwires which won’t: a) rust; or b) poke through the channelling with jagged ends and spear you. Much better 🙂
As with most things sewing, there’s no necessarily right or wrong way of going about this! I’ve heard of people sealing underwire ends with varnish or “goop” (whatever the hell that is!), even nail polish, or tipping the ends with plastic or rubber caps – anything which securely covers and seals the cut end is worth a shot. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all! I like my method, as I can use things I have to hand to give a nice, clean finish – and it is kind of cool to tell people you’re using metal saws and power tools in your sewing projects 😉
I’m hoping to have another tutorial post up in the next couple of weeks, on another requested topic – the method I use to line my bra cups! I hope to get a bit of sewing time in this weekend though, so hopefully you’ll see some new makes before then, too.
Until next time,
Miss Maddy xx