Kirstin

Owner of Small Bobbins!

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.

Making and altering the Eloise set

Have you seen the latest pattern release by Madalynne Intimates, the Eloise bralette and panties? She asked me to be a pattern tester (ahh fan girl moment!) and I could not refuse! These pieces are gorgeous and unique, with asymmetrical lace details and delicate narrow straps. In Maddie’s initial email to me, she described the fit of the Eloise as similar to the Barrett, drafted for people with a fuller chest and smaller rib cage.

Oooh… that could be an issue for me,” was my first thought. I have a smaller chest (ahem, “small bobbins“) and wider ribs/back, and when I last made the Barrett bralette (for the Free Bralette Pattern Review series! check out the results video here, and blog here), I found that fit wasn’t great for me; the cups were wrinkled, telling me that I needed less volume.

With this in mind, I still really wanted to make the Eloise. I started out by making a muslin/test version with some materials that I had in my personal stash (not my shop!). I needed to get an idea of what exactly needed to be changed before I used my nicer materials.

Here’s the first version!

It’s pretty hard to see; the black and red don’t give a great indication of the fit issues, but as I suspected, the cups were baggy. The band fit fine, and since it calls for a wide elastic band, it was comfortable and forgiving.

I also found some issues with the fit of the panties and my somewhat flat derriere that I wanted to address for my final version.

For the bralette, I knew that I wanted to reduce cup volume by making the curve of the cup seams less dramatic.

The above photo shows the original pattern piece underneath the altered pattern piece. Quite a lot of volume! For both front cup pieces and the lace overlay pieces, I found the apex (the part the stuck out furthest on the curve), and then marked about ~1/2″ in from there. Then, using one of my curved rulers, I made a new line the connected the top and bottom of the pattern piece with that new mark. It’s a very gentle curve (I have a very small chest!). And, when calculating the amount that I lopped off, there’s 2″ less fabric going into the final version. (I briefly thought… do I need to add this amount back somewhere else? side seam? something? but I decided against it; I really was wanting to remove excess fabric, not redistribute it.)

There you can see the four pieces that I did alter (I didn’t do anything to the other three, those are just a standard medium!).

For the panties, I started by sizing down from a Medium to a Small. I found the rise to be awkwardly high in the back (my thinking is, if I had the booty it was drafted for, that extra fabric would’ve been used to cover more surface area), so I lowered the back by about ~1/2″ (it’s the darker, non-dashed line on pattern piece #12 below) and then just sorta shaved off a bit from the matching front leg seam on piece #11 (panty front) so that the side seam would match.

This worked! I did end up losing some of that more dramatic, high waist look of the panties, but I’m still happy with the results.

I made up my final version using materials from my mint green, mauve, and light pink bralette and panty kit. The mint green mesh is soft, stretchy, with a bit of stability (I’d say it’s closer to my stretch tulle than a typical stretch mesh), but it’s limited edition, ex-designer stock so it won’t be around for long! The mauve lace, pink elastics, and rose gold hardware work beautifully with the light green, and then I used my ivory narrow elastic for the spaghetti strap details (which also comes in black). For the wide elastic band, I dug in my stash for this super fun gold and white elastic. It’s surprisingly soft! The gold is only on one side, so there’s nothing scratchy against my skin. I have two 2-meter pieces left that I may put up in the shop as remnants.

I hope this was a useful tutorial! If you remember my Free Bralette Pattern Review results video, I mentioned that several of the bralettes had too much cup volume, so this is definitely a method that I’m going to use for altering future bralettes as well.

If anybody else has seen any great tutorials on fitting lingerie, feel free to mention them in the comments!

#KnickerNovember Round Up!

Whew! What a month! It was my first time hosting a sewing challenge and it was so worth it! I cannot express how great it was to get more involved with the sewing community and see how we all came together and inspired each other to make knickers and lingerie!

Here’s a quick round up of how the month went:

(Oh wait, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this blog post or this video, all about introducing #KnickerNovember!)

I did my best to post relevant lingerie-making tutorials and videos here and on my Youtube channel

My co-hosts for the month, Laura (on Youtube and Instagram) and Romy (on Youtube and Instagram) also did a great job of keeping everybody hyped up throughout the month and organizing our lovely sponsors and prize packages!

At the end of the month, each of us picked the entry that we loved the most, and Laura randomly picked three winners from the remaining entries and we doled out the prizes!

My “Pick of the Pants” went to @always.sew.hungry for the drop dead gorgeous full-fledged lace set she created! Bra, panties, suspender belt, and she even made the hook and eye to match using the Leverett pattern by Orange Lingerie!

Laura’s “Pick of the Pants” was @sewingbadstitches for her incredibly fun pizza pants! She used the Trixie briefs by Jennifer Lauren Handmade.

And Romy’s “Pick of the Pants” went to @geopril123 for her stunning floral set using the Marlborough bra from Orange Lingerie and Esme panties from Evie La Luve

And our three random draw winners were @creasis.ronse, @happy.button.v, and @eleuthera40!

Thank you so much to everybody who participated, and even if you didn’t get a chance, I hope it gave you some motivation and inspiration to try something new in the near future! And don’t worry, we plan on doing this again next year too!

Holiday Gift Guide for Lingerie Makers

Small Bobbins Holiday Gift Guide for Lingerie Makers and Lovers (2019)

I always get the feeling around mid-November that I’m literally the last person on Earth to finally remember that gift-giving/receiving holidays are right around the corner! So maybe you are organized and already finished your holiday shopping, and in that case, good job! Or, maybe you’re like me and you’re like, “Oh crap, I need to think about gifts”, and in that case, this post is for you! Whether you’re a lingerie maker of any level and you want to make something special for your friends/family, or you’re shopping for the lingerie-maker in your life, here are some ideas for everybody!

Do you have other ideas not listed here? A must-have sewing tool for making lingerie, an idea for lingerie-makers to make for their non-sewing loved ones? Feel free to share in the comments!

Gifts for Beginner Lingerie Sewists:

  • Applique scissors (also called duck bill scissors), fine pins (and a cute pincushion!), rotary cutter (28mm is great for lingerie projects, but you can get away with 45mm if you require a pink one!) and cutting mat (45x60cm is more than enough for lingerie, and doable/slightly frustrating for actual garment sewing), thread snips, Microtex needles (this will be specific to the sewing machine! I find microtex needles to be the most versatile for lingerie-making though!), Odif’s temporary adhesive spray: whew! I’m not saying that all of these are 100% necessary in order to sew lingerie, but these are some of my most useful tools!
  • Lingerie-making kits: Take the hassle out of sourcing all those supplies and go for a kit! A bralette kit (maybe combined with a panty kit) is an excellent starting point for any new lingerie sewist!
  • In Intimate Detail by Cora Harrington: This is a gorgeously illustrated book and a great resource on the world of lingerie. It gives history as well as teaches about all the different types of garments, how to buy them, how to wear them, how to care for them, and more! It’s a gentle and unpretentious introduction meant to be enjoyed by anybody, no matter their experience level (sewists and non-sewists alike!). Cora Harrington is the woman behind the website The Lingerie Addict, another excellent resource for any lingerie-lover.
  • Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction by Norma Loehr (of Orange Lingerie): I have several bra-making books and this one feels the most beginner-friendly!
  • Sample packs: Sort of like a kit, but more for exploring different types of materials. Then the beloved sewist in your life can check out what the materials feel like/look like, and get a better idea for what they might want to buy in the future. Some lingerie supply shops will offer grab bags, remnant pieces, sample packs, swatch packs, etc. (Small Bobbins will in the near future! Email me if you’d like swatches though!)

Gifts for Intermediate Lingerie Sewists:

  • Drafting books: For sewists who have already dipped their feet into lingerie-making, it’s time to level up with some more technical texts. For me, I’ve purchased Bare Essentials: Bras (recently updated!), Pattern cutting for Lingerie, Beachwear, and Leisurewear, and Patternmaking for Underwear Design. They all have their individual strengths and weaknesses, although I haven’t used any of them enough to say, “THIS is the one you definitely need”.
  • Foam, underwires: another way to level up? Underwire bras! Some shops will offer underwire fitting packs, otherwise be aware of their return policy (mine is here!) in case you purchase the wrong size. (Gift certificates work great too!)
  • Lingerie soap: Once you start making precious garments, you want to take care of them! Fancy lingerie soap is not only useful, but a bit indulgent. (Check out this great article from the Lingerie Addict about caring for your lingerie!)
  • Stash builders, bulk items: Buying in bulk is a great way to save money, plus it’s a more efficient use of materials if you have, for example, 10m of elastic in one piece, as opposed to several smaller cuts. You can’t go wrong with basic colors either. Hint: black matches everything and never goes out of style!

Gifts for Advanced Lingerie Sewists:

  • Drafting paper, drafting compass, flexible ruler, French curve: Drafting lingerie patterns from scratch is a lot easier with these specialized tools! The compass and curve are great for drawing really precise curved lines, the flexible ruler can come in handy for figuring out breast shape (or your crotch curve if you’re into pant-making too!), and, of course, you’ll need something to draw your pattern drafts on!
  • New measuring tape or seam ripper: honestly you can never have too many of these, and the advanced sewist might be using an old, stretched out measuring tape, a dull seam ripper, or just constantly turning their sewing space upside down looking for the one they keep misplacing!
  • Look up classes in their area or online and treat them to a new skill! For online, Bluprint has lingerie-related classes by Beverly Johnson and Alison Smith, and Creative Bug has several classes by Maddie Flanigan.
  • Gift them a day to stay in their sewing room! Entertain the kids, do the cooking/cleaning, give them a pass on going to the neighbor’s cousin’s kid’s birthday party, and let them have an uninterrupted day of sewing!
  • Book a professional photographer (even better if you are one!) to take lovely photos of their creations, either modeled (boudoir style!) or as a flat lay. Can you imagine what a treasure it would be to have gorgeous photos of your favorite creations?

Gifts for Lingerie sewists to make for friends and family: Obviously, gifting someone lingerie has the potential for awkwardness, so proceed with caution! And I don’t mean necessarily that the receiver may find it inappropriate, but what if the lingerie doesn’t fit? But there are other ways you can take inspiration from your lingerie sewing skills for the holiday season!

  • “I owe you” custom lingerie certificate: take their measurements, take them fabric shopping, give them a few patterns to select from, and create something thoughtful and gorgeous for them!
  • Harnesses, garters, chokers are all excellent choices for simple DIY gifts that don’t require a ton of measurements and fitting skills. If you have some strap elastic and hardware, and know how to sew an adjustable bra strap (check out my blog and vlog tutorials if you need a hand!), you can probably make any of these!
  • Lavender sachet, sleep mask, or scrunchie: a few more fairly simple DIY projects that I would refer to as “lingerie adjacent”. You can use some gorgeous silk to make these, and embellish them with pieces of lovely lace and elastic!
  • If you’re skilled beyond lingerie-making, you could re-purpose bits of lace and elastics, pieces too small to use otherwise, to make unique gift wrapping! Tie up your gifts with fancy knicker elastic, add a piece of lace to a gift tag, you can really get creative with your leftover supplies!

Phew! Do you have any other great gift ideas, either for the makers in your life, or for the people you love to make stuff for? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!