This page is where I’m compiling an ongoing list of resources – fabric shops, sewing books, patterns and references – that I have loved and found useful on my sewing journey so far. As I am based in Australia, most of these links will be relevant to my fellow Antipodeans (especially those locally based or with reasonable international shipping!), but many of them are international. I’ll keep updating as I discover new sources to recommend, and feel free to post suggestions, comments and questions in the comments section! My favourite sewing and fashion blogs can be found in my Blogroll in the sidebar.
(No affiliate links here, all based on my own experience and opinions)
Tutorials I’ve written and posted here on my blog 🙂
- Behind the seams: Bra lining tutorial
Fabrics & Notions
Fellow Australians will be familiar with our major sewing/craft stores: Spotlight and Lincraft. However, here are a few other suggestions when the big shops can’t help you (or you fancy something different!):
- Darn Cheap Fabrics – located in Heidelberg and Glenhuntly in Melbourne, or shop online (ships internationally). Great selection of fabrics and notions, from polycotton to silks, and as the name suggests – darn cheap!
- The Cloth Shop – shop in store in Ivanhoe, Melbourne. A stunning array of designer fabrics, the beauty (and price tags) of which make my want to cry. Also a good selection of basics, and very friendly and helpful customer service.
- Rathdowne Fabrics & Remnants – shop in store in Brunswick, Melbourne, but online shopping to come soon! This warehouse is heaven for bargain hunters and fabric lovers alike – gorgeous pieces at gorgeous prices. They’ve got every kind of fabric you can imagine, and remnant bins which make for very enjoyable rummaging. And think that bolt or off-cut looks familiar? They’ve got an amazing range of designer remnants, too.
- GJ’s Discount Fabrics – shop in store in Fairfield, Melbourne. Specialising in quilting cotton and dance/theatrical fabrics, it’s essential a dance/costume/lingerie sewer’s dream. the only local source for medium/heavy-weight powernet I’ve found, and at a reasonable price too. They have the most glorious range of stretch velvets, laces and lycras I’ve ever seen. Need I say more?
- Joelle’s Fabric Clearance Warehouse – located in Dingley, VIC, or online on eBay. Worth a look if you’re out for a bargain, with a good range and competitive prices. Good for all kinds of fabric, but I source my light-weight powernet for lingerie-making from here (good for underwear and underlining, but a bit light for a supportive bra – you’ll need to double it up for that! Very cheap though so worth it if you can’t get the heavier stuff at a reasonable price).
- The Remnant Warehouse – based in Sydney or shop online! Huge selection of discount fabrics, from designer to basics to dance and swim fabrics. Also haberdashery and lingerie notions.
Bra and Lingerie-Making
Bra and lingerie notions can be very hard to track down, especially when even the biggest stores have only a tiny range. But never fear, you certainly can get the haby you need – even Down Under!
- J&K Lace – shop online on eBay. Excellent range of exquisite laces, in every colour and width you could want. I source my stretch lace for lingerie making from here.
- Booby Traps – warehouse outside of Sydney, or shop online. Everything you need to make your own bras! Buy either their pre-made bra kits or hunt up the notions yourself. They also stock patterns and instruction DVDs, and have very friendly customer service!
- Measure Twice Cut Once – shop online! Beautiful, hand-dyed bra kits at a very reasonable price, as well as separate lingerie and miscellaneous notions and haberdashery. Also check out her beautiful underwear patterns (named after Pride & Prejudice characters!) and classes.
- Ortensia Sewing Supplies – an Australian-based corsetry specialist, with affordable and quality steel boning, busks, grommets and more! Great customer service and very affordable shipping rates
- Sew Squirrel – An Australian-based online store stocking a wide range of indie patterns and sewing supplies. Especially handy, she stocks the Bra Maker’s Supply patterns and kits – so you can enjoy them without phenomenal international shipping!
- Merckwaerdigh – based in the Netherlands, visit her Etsy shop! Merckwaerdigh is famous in the online lingerie making community for her beautiful bra kits, combining delicate laces, unusual trims and matching and contrasting fabrics. She also stocks her own pattern line, lingerie haberdashery and findings kits. Shipping to Australia is quick and inexpensive!
- ArteCrafts – based in the US, shop online on Etsy or their new website. ArteCrafts stock a great range of basic lingerie notions and findings kits, as well as suitable fabrics. They are very reasonably priced and the stock is well-curated. Very affordable shipping to Australia.
I am a sucker for PDF downloadable patterns – there’s nothing like that instant gratification…or the saving on postage! We’re all familiar with mainstream pattern companies and where to get them (see above, Spotlight, Lincraft, for Australians) – but I am definitely a fan of indie patterns too. Here are some of my favourite designers! Most of these have a vintage or retro feel to them…unsurprisingly.
- By Hand London
- Mrs Depew Vintage – also has reproduction vintage lingerie patterns!
- Sew Over It
- Decades of Style – hardcopy patterns only
- Gretchen Hirsch’s Gertie Sews Vintage Casual – A beautifully presented guide to vintage-style sportswear and casual, complete with fabrics and techniques reference sections, detailed instructions on pattern alterations and separate sections for wovens and knits. Thorough instructions, but definitely not just for beginners – more experienced sewers will gain something too. The best part? The beautiful, fully illustrated, many-variations-upon, multi-size included patterns!
- Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques – An incredible glimpse into the world of high fashion and couture sewing. Shaeffer walks you through the whole experience of creating custom couture clothing – then shows you, in wonderful detail, exactly how it’s done – so you can wear couture too.
- Norma Loehr’s Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction – A great introduction to sewing lingerie. Norma’s book is meticulous in its detail, from presenting the case for making one’s own undergarments to addressing every fitting problem imaginable. At around $15 for the kindle edition, it’s incredible value for money.
- Cloth Habit’s Bra-Making Sew-a-long – Probably the best free bra-making resource I’ve used so far! Amy’s posts cover everything from choosing a pattern, fitting and alterations to fabric and notions choices and assembly. Many excellent pictures (and videos!) and input from everyone who took part is still there for you to see. Best part of all is that it’s not specific to any one pattern – it applies to pretty much any bra pattern out there that you might care to sew!
- Thread Den – if you’re in Melbourne, and you love sewing, I cannot recommend this place enough. A “sewing lounge”, they offer a range of classes, from beginner to advanced, host “social sewing” evenings, hen’s nights and events – and you can even just drop in and stitch away on their machines if you fancy. They also stock a variety of indie patterns and sewing books, which are also available online.
- The Foldline – a brilliant new online sewing, combining the best features of Pattern Review, Kollabora and forums. There’s groups for all sewing skill levels, locations and interests – I’ve started a lingerie-sewing group here!
- Facebook – there’s a huge sewing community presence on Facebook, mostly taking the form of any number of sewing-related groups, where common interests can be shared, advice sought and new makes shown off! They can be directed towards specific types of sewing, such as lingerie or vintage, or based on area. I’ve joined the WeSewRetro Sew & Tell page, and two lingerie groups: the Bra-Making Forum and Bra Makers – Beginner Through Intermediate. All three are very helpful, positive and supportive, and both bra groups in particular have a number of experts as members who offer very encouraging and thoughtful advice. For theses groups, like many others, you must request to join and be approved in order to take part.