Kirstin

Owner of Small Bobbins!

Backless velvet bodysuit and Honeycomb Harness

With temperatures dropping here in Belgium, I was inspired to challenge myself by making something that combined my favorite aspects of sewing my own lingerie (soft, delicate fabrics, form-fitting silhouettes, straps and sex appeal, etc.), plus warmth and wearability. I love wearing my plum bodysuit, but now that we’re on the cusp of winter, I am dreaming of sleeves, more coverage, and heavier fabrics.

Black mesh and velvet bodysuit kit

I took inspiration from the lingerie and clothing brand Undress code; when their gorgeous bodysuits came across my Instagram feed, I was immediately smitten with the ones combining mesh and velvet. The play on transparency and textures really appealed to me!

Once I had materials in mind (I’m always looking for an excuse to use a bit of stretch velvet for myself), I looked through my pattern collection and immediately found the perfect match with the Trapeze backless bodysuit by Studio Calicot. I used to do some pattern testing for this brand and have made this pattern before, so I felt confident to dive in without making a test version.

Black mesh and velvet bodysuit kit

Trapeze has a big, bold cut-out in the back, of course, but it also has long sleeves and a high turtleneck to keep most of my torso warm. It also has a built-in shelf bra, using powernet and underband elastic, to provide some support in the front. I mapped out which fabrics I’d use for each piece (velvet for the front, collar, and finishing the edge of the cut-out, mesh for everything else), and set out making the bodysuit.

Black mesh and velvet bodysuit kit

The trickiest bits? Keeping track of the right and wrong side of the mesh (they’re verrrrry similar, which probably also means it doesn’t matter too much if you mix them up!), and a slight change in construction order after I decided to use picot elastic in place of the yoke band on the back. It was pretty straightforward to solve in the moment though. I also drafted separate gusset lining pieces (front and back) as an extra layer between me and the precious velvet.

Black honeycomb harness kit

Okay okay okay, but that’s not the star of this outfit though! What’s another thing to love about sewing lingerie? Straps, details, sparkles, extra extra extra, flare! My exposed back would serve as the inspiration for a fabulous strappy harness to accessorize with.

Black honeycomb harness kit

After I finished my bodysuit, I sketched and schemed to come up with a harness design. Since it would go on my back, I had more freedom to come up with a more expansive design (since there wouldn’t be…uh.. two “3D objects” getting in the way). I attempted to “draft” the harness on my mannequin, using pins, rings, and wonderclips on uncut pieces of strap elastic (not wanting to waste the elastic by cutting it at an early stage), but it was…an unwieldy process.

Honeycomb harness

So, I just went for it!

I sketched a very professional template on a piece of paper and laid out the rings I would use, aiming to have approximately 3cm of strap length between each one (each strap piece started at around 7cm to allow space to stitch and loop around each ring). I counted out how many connection points I would need (42!) and started sewing.

I used 8mm satin strap elastic, the narrowest strap elastic I have in the shop, to connect each of the rings. It’s not quite easy to tell, but there’s a diamond shape of 18mm gold rings, surrounded by 15mm gold rings. The difference is too slight to notice, especially with some rings holding up to six pieces of elastic.

Honeycomb harness

The most difficult part of construction is just that it gets a bit tedious sewing small pieces of straps over and over. It required a lot of focus to make sure each piece was as close to equal as possible, and to not get tangled up. If I were to make this harness again, I would keep better track of snipping threads and sealing edges (with a quick run under a lighter, be very careful if you do this!) before moving on to the next strap. It was much more difficult to do this to all of the straps at the end.

Black mesh and velvet bodysuit kit

Once the main honeycomb design was finished, I needed a way to actually wear it. I played around with incorporating g-hooks or metal closures, but I settled on having six long straps convene on one main, big statement ring that would sit in the middle of my chest. The front straps (12mm satin strap elastic, 50cm in length per strap) are adjustable and have enough slack built in that I can lengthen them with the slider and easily slip the harness on and off. This was definitely the easiest place in the process to really mess up and sew the straps on backwards, twisted, etc., so pay careful attention.

Black honeycomb harness kit

And… that’s it! A lot a lot a lot of repetitive straight stitches. The lengths of each piece of strap elastic was mostly a guess based on my own body, so your results may differ! All I can say is, my head is positively swimming with new harness designs, so this won’t be the last you see of them on Small Bobbins.

Of course, if you want an all-in-on bundle of materials to recreate these garments (or come up with something totally different!) you can find the Black velvet and mesh bodysuit kit and the Black Honeycomb Harness kit in the shop now!

Olive Branch lace and terra cotta set

Before I made my Plum and Terra Cotta bodysuit, I tested the triangle lace cups to be sure they fit well. This Olive Branch stretch lace that I used for a toile (test garment) might seem like a strange choice, but it came from a damaged piece that was otherwise unsellable.

Olive branch and terra cotta bralette

Can I tell you a secret? When you purchase a massive amount of textiles or elastics from a biiiig supplier, it’s basically accepted practice that you might not get the quantity you’re expecting. Or maybe you do… sort of. That 50-meter roll of lace, for example, might include 50 meters, sure!… but it might be in pieces, or there’s one or two places where it got chewed up in the loom, or (my personal favorite) I may unroll an otherwise pristine run of fabric to find a perfect circle chopped out of the very center (usually it’s done to calculate the weight of the fabric at the factory).

I get the honor of discovering these various imperfections usually right when I’m unrolling the material to pack your orders. What’s a #girlboss to do?

Waste not, want not. I keep a box full of these irregularly shaped chunks of fabric, laces, and elastics to use for test garments.

Can I tell you another secret? I was so pleased to find a good use for this gorgeous mossy-green and gold lace.

It was while rummaging around my scrap box that I happened to get the inspiration to pair the Olive Branch lace with terra cotta elastics. My main focus was testing the cup pieces, and attaching them to the wide band meant I could make a super simple bralette without worrying about extra pattern pieces beyond that.

Olive branch and terra cotta bralette

Lace cups + wide band + shoulder straps + hook and eye closure = done

The cup pieces needed a bit of alterations for their next iteration, but this bralette was definitely wearable! I decided to make a matching set of panties using terra cotta stretch mesh and Olive Branch lace appliques.

I turned to a tried-and-true favorite panty pattern of mine, the Celeste panties by Ohhh Lulu. It’s a low-rise bikini brief with solid front and back pieces; the perfect canvas to jazz up with a few lace pieces.

Olive branch and terra cotta panties

I laid out the pattern and decided where I wanted my lace pieces to go, tracing new pattern pieces for the appliques. Each applique, one on the front and one on the back, was made up of two mirrored lace pieces that would be sewn together, which means I had to remember to add a seam allowance. (Need more tips? Check out our tutorial for creating perfectly mirrored lace pieces!)

For constructing the panties, I added each applique to its respective mesh piece first, so then I could simply continue sewing the rest of the panties without altering the instructions. I used plenty of pins to hold the lace in place, and the attached them with a narrow zigzag, carefully following along the scalloped edge of the lace.

Olive branch and terra cotta panties

I love the final look of the panties; the lace really adds an upgraded element to the pair, and also provides some opaqueness as well. By making sure that my lace pieces were perfectly mirrored when cutting and sewing, the end result is pleasing to look at and allows the gorgeous painterly design and gold details to take center stage.

Olive branch and terra cotta bralette and panties

What started as a test set soon became one of my new favorite color combinations! The olive and terra cotta are both warm and autumnal, and surprisingly complimentary. If you feel so inspired to recreate this set for yourself, you can find the Olive Branch and Terra Cotta lingerie kit in the shop now!

Olive branch and terra cotta lingerie kit

Plum, terra cotta, ultraviolet bodysuit

Our newest shade of Italian stretch mesh arrived just in time for fall; introducing, P L U M!

Plum stretch mesh, 1/2 meter

As the name suggests, it’s a gorgeously rich shade of purple, warm and autumnal, with the same soft and supple stretch that has made this fabric a constant bestseller. I started laying it next to my other laces and elastics to see how the color would inspire me, and once I saw this combination with the Great Waves lace in terra cotta and the ultraviolet elastics, I couldn’t get it out of my head!

Plum mesh, Great Waves lace, ultraviolet elastics

A daring three-color combo like this gives me Dora Larsen vibes, and I took their bodysuits as inspiration for how I wanted my piece to look. I kept my idea simple: a sheer bodice, lace triangle cups, no wires, soft structure, no appliques or cut-outs or extra frills. Sure, those things have their place in the world, but I wanted something easy to make and easy to wear.

For my own bodysuit, I used a self-drafted bodysuit block. I like the amount of coverage it provides and how I’ve gotten the gusset snaps in just the right spot over the years of using this pattern. I copied it and cut a straight line at the underbust, and made sure this lined up with the back piece. For the cups, I turned to a simple triangle cup pattern that I’ve been working on, first making a test version to check for the fit.

For patterns that you can use, Studio Calicot has a number of bodysuit patterns in different shapes, Seamwork offers the Ariane bodysuit with additional cup shaping, Mood Fabrics offers the freeeeee Thyme bodysuit, and Made for Mermaids has the Loren Teddy. Or, what is a bodysuit but a bodice combined with panties? Halfmoon Atelier offers a tank top and panties pattern, So Zo has free tank top and panties patterns, Itch to Stitch has the free Lago top, and of course there are tons of other free panty patterns out there (the Noelle from Madalynne is a favorite of mine!). And then for similar cups, there’s the Jordy bralette from Emerald Erin, the Darcey bralette from Evie la Luve (Style 2), or the Kiwiki bralette from Fityoo (this one is free!).

Don’t forget to make a test version to get the length and fit right, and draft a snap closure if you’re on Team Snaps for your bodysuits!

Construction for my bodysuit was fairly straightforward, but I did write out all of my steps first to try to anticipate any possible issues with the order of the steps.

The cups are lined with silky microfiber in merlot, almost a total color match to the plum stretch mesh, but providing a smooth lining and some more opaqueness in the cups. (The kit also includes powernet for people who might want additional cup support!)

Plum, terra cotta, ultraviolet bodysuit

A bit of 8mm soft terra cotta elastic was sewn onto the edges as a way to join the lace cups and lining together, and stabilize the scalloped lace edges. I added the sliiiightest bit of tension when attaching this elastic, so the cups *hug* the gals a bit more snugly.

Then the underband elastic! This made me pause a bit. I wanted some underband support, I wanted to finish the edge of the top of the bodysuit, and I wanted it all to look nice and neat. Starting at the side seam, I sewed on the underband elastic to the right side of the bodysuit (11mm scalloped underband elastic in ultraviolet), plush side up and scallops facing away from the edge.

When I flipped the elastic towards the inside of the bodysuit, I pinned the cups in place on the inside of the bodysuit. I didn’t trim my seam allowance except to clean up a few parts where it peaked below the elastic. The sheer mesh is thin enough that the seam allowance didn’t add bulk, but it’s sheer enough that trimming it away would’ve looked messier.

Plum, terra cotta, ultraviolet bodysuit

The addition of the underband elastic here gives me just enough support, plus I adore the hint of ultraviolet that pops up between the cups and bodysuit!

It was smooth sailing after that to finish up: finishing the legs with foldover elastic (catching the gusset lining while doing so), installing the jersey press snaps, and attaching the shoulder straps.

Plum, terra cotta, ultraviolet bodysuit

And was it the bodysuit of my dreams?

Readers: it was the bodysuit of her dreams!

I put together this kit so that you can also make your own bodysuit. The kit includes a full meter of stretch mesh; this is a lot! I’m about a Size 40 (EU) and just barely fit my bodice from 1/2-meter of mesh, so I wanted to be sure that there was plenty for any size and shape of garment you wanted to make. And if you’re not into bodysuits, this kit is easily adaptable to all sorts of other lingerie sets! Add a hook and eye closure to make a soft bralette, add a bit more elastic for a pair of panties (enough for a waistband), or check out channeling, underwires, and non-stretch lining fabrics like sheer cup lining or bra tulle to make an underwire bra.

Plum, terra cotta, ultraviolet bodysuit kit

Or, you know, go crazy and add some boning, a long closure, suspender clips, stocking trim, and go for a decadent bustier with garter belt and Courlis Stockings. Isn’t that the most fun part of making your own lingerie after all? Doing whatever the heck you want!

Black and Ultraviolet Anais and Celine set

Closet Core Patterns recently released a lingerie pattern collection featuring F O U R gorgeous patterns! I couldn’t help but swipe up the Celine Bralette and Anais Panties on the day they were released. I’ve made one set so far and it is true love for me!

Celine and Anais lingerie set with black mesh and ultraviolet elastics by Small Bobbins

The promotional photos for these patterns featured a lot of simple, basic black mesh, which inspired me to turn to my all-time favorite soft stretch mesh. I used the new Ultraviolet elastics and I’m obsessed with the color combination. I made a few decisions about the designs and a few changes (based on my materials) that I’ll tell you more about.

Celine and Anais lingerie set with black mesh and ultraviolet elastics by Small Bobbins

The Celine Bralette is described as “for everyday wear and casual lounging,” so I went ahead and cut the whole dang thing from soft black stretch mesh. Based on my measurements, I cut a size 8 with A/B cups (my underbust is about 80cm and my full bust is about 90cm). I made View A with the darted cup and extra stripey bit at the neckline, but I used the straight back bands from View B. (I can’t wait to make more of these and experiment with fabrics and different textures for this piece.)

Celine and Anais lingerie set with black mesh and ultraviolet elastics by Small Bobbins

Really wanting to use my 11mm scalloped underband elastic in Ultraviolet, I skipped the fabric-covered underband and ended up with more narrow bands, leading me to use a 30mm hook and eye, instead of the suggested 38mm one. I could’ve altered the pattern going into it, and I may do that on a future one, but luckily this did work fine for me. Your results may vary, of course! I made sure to measure and check the size of the back bands before attaching the underband and foldover elastics to make sure that my hook and eye closures would fit.

Celine and Anais lingerie set with black mesh and ultraviolet elastics by Small Bobbins

I do have to be honest that I did not read the instructions that closely! I’m sure they’re wonderful. I have other Closet Core patterns, and the clarity of the instructions is great for things like the Ginger Jeans or Kalle Shirtdress, but for me personally, I felt like I could zip through a simple bralette and panty set on my own. The only thing I didn’t look at closely is that the cup piece should’ve been doubled; mine ended up being a single layer. Oops!

Celine and Anais lingerie set with black mesh and ultraviolet elastics by Small Bobbins

For the Anais panties, I made the low-rise version of View A with foldover elastic. I am a BIG FAN of low-rise panties. It’s mind-boggling to be on the wrong side of a trend, but I do *not* enjoy high-waist or high-cut legs, so the option for low-rise made me so happy! Hey, we’ve all got our own preferences. For my all-mesh version, the panels felt a bit unnecessary, but I’m already planning more versions with jersey and color-blocking, and having side panels will be great for contrast. I made a size 12 (my waist is 77cm and hips are 102cm) and it fit well.

What to say about panty construction? Everything came together perfectly! If you’ve ever made panties, then these are nothing new.

Celine and Anais lingerie set with black mesh and ultraviolet elastics by Small Bobbins

The fit is great. For me personally, with my, *ahem*, small bobbins, an all-mesh bralette works for everyday wear. These gals don’t require much! If I wanted to increase the level of support, I would make a few fabric decisions. Since the back bands and cups consist of two layers, I could cut the mesh in opposing directions, or *not* in the direction of greatest stretch, for additional support. Or, one layer could be replaced with a firmer mesh, powermesh, powernet, etc.

Here’s a list of materials I used:

I already mentioned some ideas for future Celine and Anais sets, but I’ll also likely use my 30mm wide band elastics on the underband to see if that offers a bit more support. Playing around with transparency and colors too, textures like bamboo jersey and lace; there are so many possibilities!

How to make a pair of garter panties

I’m soooo happy with one of my latest lingerie sets: a pair of beige Courlis Stockings trimmed with this super fun black argyle trim, with a matching pair of high-waisted garter-panties! I wanted a way to show-off the argyle trim, and once I got this idea stuck in my head, I had to see it through!

Argyle Courlis Stockings kit
Argyle Courlis Stockings kit

I started with the Noelle Panties pattern by Madalynne Intimates. It’s a free pattern, and one that I’ve made several times before, so I already knew that I liked the fit. This method would probably fit any of your favorite panty patterns though, so feel free to adapt!

The argyle trim is exactly 57mm wide, which matches exactly with the 3×3 hook and eye closures that I carry in the shop. A lot of garter belts that I see online make use of hook and eye closures in the back, so it felt like an easy way to ensure that I could get the panties on and off. (Actually, the trim is very stretchy, so I probably could’ve skipped this!)

Argyle Courlis Stockings kit

I didn’t want to add the height of the trim to the top of the panties, so before I cut out the main fabric for the panties, I laid the argyle trim on top of the paper pattern pieces and chopped that off the height of the front and back. (Don’t forget to add seam allowance to the top if you’re particular about that extra bit of height!)

I also wanted to make this pair a bit more interesting than a basic pair of panties, so I took my ruler and just drew a straight line at an angle from the back waistline to the CB to make a V-shaped cut-out. Not too deep that my rear would be falling out the back, but deep enough to make it count! I didn’t add any sort of seam allowance to this cut-out because I planned to cover it in foldover elastic.

Argyle Courlis Stockings kit

For construction order, first I covered the V-shape on the back panty piece with foldover elastic. I snipped a teeny bit at the center point to make it easier to pivot the elastic, and then afterwards, I folded the back panty piece in half (right sides together) and used a straight stitch over the foldover elastic at the point to make it look nice and sharp.

Next, I attached the front, back, and gusset pieces together at the back seam, covered the legs with black foldover elastic, and then sewed the side seams together. Next, I sewed four adjustable garter straps using 50cm of 12mm strap elastic, and a matching black slider and garter clip for each one. Honestly, these could’ve been shorter, but my stockings also ended up quite tall, so your results may vary!

Argyle Courlis Stockings kit

To determine how much argyle trim I needed for my waistband, I took some (just by itself) and fitted it around my waist where I knew the panties would hit. The argyle trim is suuuuper stretchy, and it’s a good, stable stretch, but not incredibly firm. I didn’t want it to be too loose, and I didn’t want the trim to be overstretched, so once I found the right fit for me, I added a bit to the ends for seam allowance and cut my preferred length.

I pinned my garter straps and just eye-balled the placement, trying to make sure they were as symmetrical as possible. I sewed the hook and eye closure to the ends of the trim, and then pinned the trim in place. It didn’t match evenly, which I anticipated, and I did have to stretch the trim to fit the panties. I simply overlapped the argyle trim on top of the panties, and back-tacked over the straps to make sure they were secure.

Argyle Courlis Stockings kit

And, voila! That’s it! The whole set came out exactly how I envisioned it, and I even made a simple triangle bralette to go with it, using the argyle trim as the underband. I love that it feels secure enough to hold up the stockings, without squeezing, of course!

The materials that I used to make this set can be purchased as a kit, and you can even add the Courlis Stockings PDF sewing pattern to the kit to receive a discount on the pattern!

Black Tessellation and Lycra Maris Bralette and Panty

Showing off my next set that I made with the new Madalynne patterns and kits, this is the Maris Bralette and Panties! I recently got this Black Tessellation stretch mesh in stock and have been (im)patiently waiting for the opportunity to use it. It only stretches in one direction, but I wanted to demonstrate how that shouldn’t hold you back from using it! Bralettes and panties usually only require stretch that goes around your body horizontally, so as long as you position the fabric correctly, it should work perfectly!

And in the case of this set, it definitely did!

Black Tessellation Maris Bralette and Panty kit

Here’s a quick overview of this project.

I sewed a size Small for the bralette, cup size A/B. For the panties, I sewed a Medium. You’ll notice that the shape of the cups is very similar between the Maris and the Fenix Bodysuit, and I’ll use these Maris cups for both patterns going forward. On my next Maris, I’ll add some width to the back piece (it’s a particular fitting issue I notice with my body, I have a bit of a wider back relative to my cup size!).

Black Tessellation Maris Bralette and Panty kit

For the panties, I used a smaller piece of fabric than what’s included with the kits (always thrifty with my scraps!) so instead of cutting the back panty piece on the fold, I added seam allowance and cut it in two pieces.

Black Tessellation Maris Bralette and Panty kit

I used my new 30mm shiny band elastic on both the bralette and panties instead of the matte elastic that I originally planned with this kit, and I really like the result! The shiny elastic is a bit softer and more stretchy, plus it elevates the whole set with a touch of glam. (The matte elastic would be perfect for a sportier look!)

The lycra is opaque and supportive, and the tessellation mesh is fairly stable, so I skipped lining any of the pieces. I also made the bralette a pullover style and omitted any closures.

Black Tessellation Maris Bralette and Panty kit

I used 18mm strap elastic as the wide elastic that lines the top of the back piece. That, plus the 30mm wide band elastic that I used, are both a bit shorter than the elastics Madalynne drafted the pattern for, so I had to chop a bit off of the bottom of the cups so that the side seams matched. On my next version, I would make the pattern piece for the back band larger to make up for the difference.

Black Tessellation Maris Bralette and Panty kit

The boning and channeling was easy to apply (the channeling in this kit is suuuper thin, I searched far and wide to find a type that was easy to sew, but still soft and supportive!). I was tempted to skip it, but it does help the bralette feel more secure and stay in place.

Black Tessellation Maris Bralette and Panty kit

Both pieces came together quickly and easily; there aren’t any unfamiliar techniques if you’ve sewn a couple panties and bralettes already. The panties are a medium/high-rise thong, and I may play around to lower the rise a bit on my next pair (personally, the waist doesn’t hit my favorite spot on me!).

Black Tessellation Maris Bralette and Panty kit

I love the result! It’s sporty and geometric, comfortable but stylish, everyday but special. If you want to make your own set, you can buy the Black Tessellation and Lycra Maris kit while supplies last, and add the Maris Bralette and Panty pattern to your kit with a 20% discount! Don’t forget to check out the other Madalynne kits for the Lawren BodysuitFenix Bodysuit, and Roxie Bralette, and I’ll show you more soon!

Black Tessellation Maris Bralette and Panty kit
Black Tessellation Maris Bralette and Panty kit
Black tessellation Maris bralette and panty kit

Forest Green and Beige leafy mesh Fenix Bodysuit

I recently got the opportunity to start stocking PDF sewing patterns from Madalynne in the shop, and it’s been really fun to create a whole bunch of new kits to match perfectly with these four patterns! I can tell that it’s easier to visualize the possibilities with a lingerie-making kit if I make a sample garment, so I’m going to be going through most of the kits to show off what the finished product could look like.

First up, a Fenix Bodysuit using the Forest Green and Beige kit. The beige fabric has a meandering vine motif that looks seasonal when paired with the forest green stretch mesh without being confined to being too autumnal. Honestly, the beige fabric is such a subtle neutral that you could easily swap all the forest green parts for navy blue, terra cotta, or even black!

Forest green and beige vines Fenix bodysuit kit

Here’s a quick project overview for my Fenix Bodysuit.

Going with the size chart, I should’ve cut a Large and a C/D cup, but in my heart of hearts, I know I’m an A/B cup, so I went with that instead. On future Fenix bodysuits, I’ll adjust the cup pieces to remove some more volume, but everything else about the bodysuit fit well!

I took some liberties with the materials that I used compared to the pattern suggestions. I wanted a light, sheer bodysuit, so I skipped a lining on most pieces where it was called for. The lower bralette cups are made with both forest green mesh and powernet, and the upper part of the bralette includes forest green mesh under the beige fabric (I love the way it makes the leaf pattern pop more!). For the back band and panty panels, I just used a single layer of fabric. The kits include enough fabric to allow for all kinds of combinations!

Forest green and beige vines Fenix bodysuit kit

Originally, I had planned to use peach-colored wide elastic as the underband, but then this shiny, forest green version arrived (it was custom dyed to match all of the other forest green materials and elastics!) and of course I couldn’t resist using it. I love the bit of luxury that the satiny band brings.

The 30mm elastic band is a bit more narrow than the pattern’s suggestion, so I swapped in a 38mm, 2×3 hook and eye closure (instead of the 57mm, 3×3 closure that’s suggested) and I was sure to trim off a bit of the back band before sewing on the foldover elastic and attaching the closure.

I decided to add snaps to my bodysuit. It’s optional, of course, but I have one bodysuit that I made as a test version in the past, without snaps, and that prevents me from wearing it much more often, so I made sure not to make that mistake again! I have press snaps in the shop (and I include a strip of iron-on interfacing with each purchase) so I used those to create the snap closure. It’s such a small change, but on my next one, I need to remember to swap which sides of the snaps go on which side of the gusset!

Forest green Fenix Bodysuit

I’m really pleased with how it came out! It’s exactly how I thought it would be when I created this kit. It was my first time using the Fenix pattern too and I realized that it’s super easy to stop at one point and have a fully finished bralette, which makes it a much more versatile pattern than I thought!

You can find this kit in the shop while supplies last, and get a 20% discount on the pattern when you add it to your kit! Don’t forget to check out the other Madalynne kits for the Lawren Bodysuit, Maris Bralette, and Roxie Bralette, and I’ll show you more soon!

Forest green Fenix Bodysuit kit

Sew a Halloween-inspired pentagram bra

With Spooky Season upon us, it’s no surprise that black, strappy lingerie has started popping up on my inspiration boards, and it didn’t take long for me to start brainstorming how I could integrate an upside-down pentagram onto a bra. A strappy detail like this could be incorporated into lots of different bra patterns, but here are some tips that I picked up from making my version!

Black Velvet Halloween longline bra

(Psst, if you want to get everything you need to copy my longline bra, you can purchase this as a kit!)

I had an idea to color-block the front using our amaaaazingly soft and luxurious black stretch velvet, and contrast it with a single layer of black bra tulle. Bra tulle is incredibly light and transparent, but also rigid and supportive. It has a tiny bit of mechanical give in one direction, and you can add another layer (cut in the opposite direction) for a bit more strength. (The kit also includes the option to add sheer cup lining, which is even more stable and rigid.)

Black Velvet Halloween longline bra

To create the color-blocking effect, I cut the front pattern piece along the boning guidelines, and added seam allowance to each piece. The velvet piece does have a piece of bra tulle behind it, because the front of the bra needs to be non-stretch. I simply layered the two pieces and treated them as one piece. I sewed the new “side front” bra tulle pieces to the “center front” velvet/bra tulle piece, and then made the rest of the bra as instructed. One benefit of the color-blocking is that it made it super easy to add the front boning pieces and make them symmetrical later on!

I used the stretch velvet for the cups without any lining, but I could’ve used stretch mesh or stretch tulle for a bit of extra support. I finished the neckline and the top of the bridge with foldover elastic all in one pass, but honestly, it would have been easier to finish each cup edge and the top of the bridge separately.

Black Velvet Halloween longline bra

I just used a layer of black powernet for the back bands, but I could’ve covered them in black velvet too. Everything else went as instructed for this bra, a 75mm hook and eye closure, underwire channeling, boning, plunge underwires, etc etc etc.

One small difference from the instructions, and purely by mistake, is that I flipped the channeling for the underwires up into the cups, rather than down onto the cradle. For me, it didn’t affect the fit and actually I’m glad that I don’t have the extra seams and stitching on the cradle to break up the simple, transparent look.

Black Velvet Halloween longline bra

And now the straps! These absolutely stumped me, and it took a lot of trial and error, pinning and re-pinning, stitching straps and cutting them off and re-stitching them and cutting them off again, until I settled on the final version.

Initially I planned to anchor the star to the regular strap points at the tops of the cups (that’s why I have 15mm rings there), but the horizontal strap pulled the cups inwards, which caused gaping in the neckline. I tried crossing the shoulder straps to incorporate into the star, but the end result never looked right. After looking up other examples, I decided to ignore the shoulder straps and make the star it’s own separate thing.

Black Velvet Halloween longline bra

I also experimented with the straps looping around my neck in different ways, and adding a g-hook closure at the back of my neck made it super simple to put the bra on; once I unhook the straps at the neck, the whole star detail just flops forward, and I can take the bra off normally.

The choker part leads to two 15mm rings (I’m using 12mm elastic, so I sized up the rings to accommodate for two straps), and the straps connect from there to either the center-front ring or a midpoint along the neckline. The lengths of the straps were mostly determined by holding up a measuring tape to my chest and adding about 1cm on each side for attaching them. It was tough to find a balance between lengths that weren’t too long (then the straps were too slack and it distorted the star) or too short (then it pulled the bra uncomfortably, or the choker), but I got there eventually. Usually, I (carefully) pinned strap pieces into place before stitching them for good.

Black Velvet Halloween longline bra

Things I could’ve done differently? I could’ve made each star strap adjustable, but the order of operations was frying my brain, plus I didn’t want to introduce extra pieces into the nice, smooth lines of my star.

I could’ve added rings to where the straps connected to the neckline, but I felt like it would’ve shrunk my star too much. With the size of strap elastic that I used, I felt like it needed the extra space.

I could’ve used a more narrow elastic! I have 10mm, 5mm (with a snazzy diamond design), and 4mm black elastic in the shop, any of these would’ve been fine to use for a more delicate looking star!

But overall, I’m really thrilled with how this piece came out, the velvet is gorgeous and the star is really fun! It’s great to have an idea like this and be able to bring it to life!

How to use a Layered PDF Sewing Pattern

Most of our PDF patterns are available with customizable layers. What this means is that you can turn off all of the lines for sizes that you won’t be using, making it easier to see the lines for the size(s) you want to print.

After you have downloaded your PDF pattern, open it up in your PDF reader. We prefer Adobe Acrobat Reader because it’s freeeee and easy to use! Make sure you’re using a fairly recent version, since the Layers function may not be available on older versions.

Look for the Layers symbol, which looks like three pieces of paper stacked on top of each other. Can’t find it? Try the “View” menu, I found it there under “Show/Hide” > “Navigation Panes”.

Then you’ll see a list of all of the layers, with little boxes next to each layer. When you click the box, it toggles the layer on and off. Turn off all of the layers you won’t need, until you’re left with only the size(s) you intend to print AND the “TEXT” layer (which includes all of the pattern labels, grainlines, cutting/taping guides, etc.).

Ta-da! Go ahead and print your pattern (at 100% scale!!) and enjoy creating!

Ordering from Small Bobbins during COVID-19

As of May 16, 2020, this blog post will no longer be updated! Please check the Ordering & Delivery page for the most current and accurate information, or email Kirstin if you have any questions about shipping!

Hey friends! I’m writing this purely for the sake of practicalities during these weird times. Personally, my first priority for everybody in the world is to be as safe and well as possible (physically and mentally!). For me, I’m finding it difficult to concentrate on work (especially with my two kids at home), but I know many people have found solace and positive distraction in sewing, and therefore may need some extra supplies.

Small Bobbins is run from my house, so if you would like to place an order, I am able to pack it up without issue. Everybody in my house is currently well and hasn’t had exposure (that we know of) to anybody with the virus. So that’s a plus!

As of May 12, 2020, we can ship to the EU, plus the US, Canada, Russia, Brazil, and China. If you get to checkout and are unable to select your country, it means that it’s not possible to ship to you until after the quarantine measures have lifted. Please email me if you have any questions about this!

*”Europe” means the following to bpost: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Norway. We can also ship to the United States, Canada, Russia, Brazil, and China.

Belgium (where I live) has currently issued mandatory guidelines that we’re not supposed to leave the house except for a short list of essential places, and this does include going to the post office. That being said, I will be reducing trips to the post office to once per week, so shipping times will likely be a bit longer. And, since we’ve been advised to avoid all non-essential travel, local pick-up is temporarily unavailable.

Digital products are, of course, always available!

So, from the whole Small Bobbins team (aka, me and Liesje), we hope you’re staying well!! If you would happen to have any questions or concerns about a potential order, please feel free to reach out to me directly at hello[at]smallbobbins[dot]com.