Friday, February 17, 2017

Bralette Complete!

If you've been following the Stonemountain blog lately, you know that making bras and undies is my new 2017 sewing goal!  You also may know that I recently had great success dyeing fabric and notions to make a bralette.  Well, she's finished!


Before I get into it, I need to tell you that this dress form looks a little ridiculous because we had to seriously pad the girls! My boobs are way bigger than hers 😂

But anyway.  I used our Bralette Kit and the Sweet Sixteen Bralette pattern from Pin-up Girls.  The kit and the pattern are available online and in store.  You could also pick out your own materials and come up with something all your own. We've got everything you need at the Mountain!

This pattern has a ton of sizes and variations.  You can make it longline, you can do a foam cup, and you can mix lace and fabric in a number of ways.



I did the "Candace" version which is made for using stretch lace in both the band and the cup.  I like a lot of things about this pattern, but my favorite part is the detailed instructions.  They really help you out by carefully detailing the techniques needed to complete the bralette.  I love how they give you recommended stitch width and length numbers!

This being my first foray into the lingerie sewing world, I definitely learned a few things and developed some new skills. The first thing I discovered is that you can—no, should—exclusively use your sewing machine.  I'm so used to sewing knits mainly with my serger, but bra making is much more delicate and detailed than whipping up a t-shirt.  You just can't be that exact with a serger. I thought I'd want to finish my seams with the serger, but that would create a lot of extra bulk. Topstitching down the seam allowances is all you need for a clean finish!



I also got to use some new stitches on my machine!  There's like a zillion stitches on my beloved Juki, and I always feel like it's such a waste that I never use them.  The pattern actually calls for two in particular that I have used in the past on other machines, but I probably wouldn't have thought to use them by myself.  Another reason why this pattern rocks!

The first is a three-step zig zag.  Instead of stitching from point to point like a regular zig zag, there's an extra stitch along the way, in between the tops of the zig zag peaks.

The top edge is finished with foldover elastic, which is applied using a three-step zig zag.
So why would you want to use this?  When a seam stretches, the threads undergo a certain amount of stress.  That's why a straight stitch on a knit will break as soon as you stretch it.  A zig zag stitch stretches with the fabric, but a three-step zig zag is stronger and more durable because there's more points for the thread to distribute the stress. It's kind of hard to explain, so I hope that makes sense!

The second stitch is a lightning stitch, which is a type of narrow zig zag that's sort of at an angle.  It looks like a little lightning bolt, hence the name.  It will stretch with the fabric, but it is also narrow and inconspicuous.  Not that I needed to in this case, but using a lightning stitch allows you to press open the seam, which you couldn't do with a traditional zig zag.

The pattern recommends using the lightning stitch for attaching the straps to the bra band.  This gives it a little stretch, but is nice and strong for a point that will definitely undergo some stress.


Here's what these stitch symbols look like on my machine.  Up top, #3, is the lightning stitch, and below #5 is the three-point zig zag.  They may look different on your machine, so check your manual.

I have a Juki Exceed HZL-F400, and I am 100% in love.  10/10 would recommend.

I have a few more tips for making this bralette.  It takes more time and effort, but cutting your pieces symmetrically will make the finished bra look way more professional.  I cut one piece (with my rotary cutter of course), turned it over so it was right side down, lined up the scallops, and cut the second piece.


Then you have two symmetrical pieces!  Every pattern piece requires you to cut two, so I did this for all of them.  It makes for a prettier finished product.


Just make sure that when the time comes to sew two scalloped pieces together, you match up the scallops.


Last but not least, it's pretty hard to make markings on lace.  Especially a dark color like this one. My pens were all dark ink, so they wouldn't show.  My chalk pencils were lighter in color, but the chalk didn't really want to stick to the lace.  So instead, I just marked my notches with pins and lined those up!


It really only took me one night to make this!  It was fast, easy, and satisfying.  Now I can say I've made a bra!  I can't wait to try an underwire one.  In the meantime, I'm making some underwear to go with my new bralette!

If you want to try making your own, we've made it really easy.  Just grab one of our limited edition bralette kits!  If you buy the kit with the pattern, you save a few bucks for bundling, too.


Until next time!
-Lauren
Buyer & Manager
Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics

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