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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!

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Small Bobbins Holiday Shipping

Thinking about ordering Small Bobbins products for the holidays? Here are some important dates and information to know!

Last orders before the holiday break will be accepted on Sunday, December 22rd. Anything ordered after December 22rd will be shipped on Monday, January 6th.

Need to receive your package before Christmas? Shipping times cannot be guaranteed, but here are some general guidelines!

  • Within Belgium: order before December 19
  • UK, Netherlands, France, Germany, Luxembourg: order before December 17
  • Rest of the EU: order before December 12
  • Rest of the world: order before December 10 (in my experience, orders to the US and Australia take at least 7-14 days)
  • It’s possible to request express shipping; send me an email if this is required, and we can work out a solution! If you’re in Gent, I’ll accept orders for local pick-up during the holiday break (except on Dec 25 and Jan 1!)

Have any questions or concerns? Please, always feel free to send me an email and I’ll be happy to help out!

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Free Bralette Patterns Review: Part 2 – Materials

The next video in my latest Youtube series, making and reviewing 10 free bralette patterns, is now live on my channel! In this video, well, we’re not yet doing any sewing, but I spend a fair amount of time not only going through the specific fabrics that I’m using for each pattern (and the matching underwear that I’m pairing with them), but also general advice on bralette-making materials, and what sort of swaps you can make based on availability and your own needs for comfort and/or support.

Phew! Yeah, it’s a pretty long video actually.

And since I now have a studio (or “bedroom” as my husband knows it) full of lingerie-making supplies, it should come as no surprise that I have raided my inventory for this project. Here’s a list of all my material pairings, and links to where you can find everything in the shop!

Sierra wrap bralette by Madalynne Intimates (paired with the Frida panties by JMB Pattern Design)

black dahlia-print lace bralette kit

Mood wrap bralette (paired with the Claudia panties by Ohhh Lulu)

pink poppy lace

Noelle crop top bralette (paired with the Ember panties by Evie La Luve)

sky blue lace bralette kit

Darcy bralette by Mood Fabrics (paired with the Bella panties by Evie La Luve)

navy and black lace bralette kit

Rosie bralette by JMB Pattern Designs (paired with the Binky panties by Evie La Luve)

Triangle bralette kit, ivory and black

Milla bralette by Mood Fabrics (paired with the Rosy ladyshorts by Cloth Habit)

black border lace bralette kit

Barrett bralette by Madalynne Intimates (paired with the Binky panties by Evie La Luve)

sheer tulle bralette kit with black findings

Raquel bralette by Madalynne Intimates (paired with the Ember panties by Evie La Luve)

burgundy and pink bralette kit

Hyacinth bralette by Ohhh Lulu (paired with the Celeste panties by Ohhh Lulu)

Black velvet foldover elastic, 18mm

Lovesick bralette by George and Ginger patterns (paired with the Noelle panties by Madalynne Intimates)

  • black/speckled knit fabric from my personal stash
  • and that’s it! This pattern uses no additional materials

If you’ve checked out my available bralette kits lately, you may notice some similarities! I’ve taken inspiration from these combinations and offered them up as conveniently bundled bralette kits. Check them out if you’re interested in making your own bralettes!

Free Bralette Patterns Review: Part 2 – Materials Read More »

Free Bralette Patterns on Youtube

I mean, we must have known this was coming?

Following on from my last mini-series on my Youtube channel, where I made and reviewed 10 free underwear sewing patterns, I’ve embarked on doing the same with bralettes! The first video in the series is available now on Youtube, and the next ones will be uploaded weekly.

In the first video, I introduce the series, go over which patterns I’ll be using (ten of them!) and talk about which sizes I’m choosing (also which sizes the patterns themselves are available in). Here are links to all of the patterns I’m using:

Stay tuned next week for the second video, where I talk (a lot) about materials for sewing bralettes, and show off which materials I’ll use for mine!

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Shop update: vacation and kits!

It’s been two weeks since I officially opened my shop and I’m SO THRILLED with how it’s going so much! Packing orders, touching beautiful materials every day, coming up with new ways to make sure every single person on Earth knows about my shop, this is honestly what I’ve been working for since I quit my job last year and, ugh! It’s really a dream come true that it’s here now.

BUT! I have a couple quick updates.

navy and black lace bralette kit

Bralette kits are now listed! There are so many more to come, for sure. These first few are all bralette kits, meaning that I put them together with enough materials for you to sew up a soft, wire-free bralette. Each kit typically includes lace, stretch tulle, and the required elastics, hardware, and closures. A few questions I’ve received so far:

  • Are the kits meant to be paired to a specific pattern? – No! There are a lot of lingerie pattern designers who have a range of soft bralettes that are perfect for you to use. Or go crazy and draft your own?! A few of my favorite designers are Madalynne, Evie La Luve, and Ohhh Lulu. I do offer triangle bra kits that I envisioned for a more particular style, like the Jordy Bralette (by Emerald Erin) or the Rosie Bralette (by JMB Pattern Designs), and the amount of materials in those kits are tailored for a more specific design.
  • Do I have to make a bralette? – No! You can mix and match the materials however you’d like. Want to make panties instead? Probably you’ll have enough materials to do that, with leftovers! Want to make an underwire bra? Why not add some sheer cup lining, underwire channeling, and underwires? (underwire bra kits are coming soon, by the way!) You’re the boss, you can do whatever you want with the kits.
  • I want to buy a kit but I don’t like [insert some material/color/size], can I request changes? – No problem! Future kit listings will have more room for customization, but if you have an idea in the meantime (wider elastics, different hardware color, etc.) just email me (hello@smallbobbins.com) and I can set up a custom listing for you!
  • What’s the point of buying a kit? – It’s a convenient way to get the bundle of materials you need for a particular type of lingerie, it gives you inspiration on color combinations, and there’s a discount between buying a kit versus buying all of the materials separately.

Second piece of news! I’m going on vacation and the shop will be closed from August 2-August 9. Last orders will be shipped on Thursday, August 1 around noon (CET) (that’s tomorrow omg!) and any orders received after that will be shipped first thing in the morning on Monday, August 12!

Shop update: vacation and kits! Read More »

Launching Small Bobbins Shop

Small Bobbins – an online boutique for high-quality lingerie-making supplies, is officially open!

I have been talking about opening this shop for… a long time. I’ve whispered it quietly to my husband. I mentioned it to friends as a hypothetical, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I…?”. I quit my office job last October and stumbled through trying to explain the concept to coworkers. I pitched it to my accountant, my banker, the people at the business center who helped me get all the proper paperwork sorted.

I teased it on social media, while I quietly worked on this idea. And I’ve been purposely vague. Why? Well, I’m totally freaked out to admit my big plans. But now I’m here to spell them out for you.

Small Bobbins launches today, July 19, 2019. You’ll be able to find it here, on smallbobbins.com. I’m selling a range of materials for making beautiful lingerie. Underwires, fabrics, linings, hardware, notions, elastics of ALL kinds and colors, plus (eventually!) kits and patterns! The goal is to be able to offer sewists and lingerie designers everything they would need to create their own handmade lingerie.

I’ve been busy (for months) sourcing materials. Belgium, you may or may not know, is a wonderful hub of fashion and creativity, and I’ve been able to find some gorgeous and unique materials that were sitting in designers’ ateliers from past seasons. I feel like a material matchmaker, finding these special pieces and now having the opportunity to offer them to you. For the rest of the shop, I’ve been finding sources and working on building an inventory that reflects a comprehensive range of colors and sizes to allow anybody to sew modern and joyful lingerie. I’ll also have a particular focus on finding ways for you to sneak some frosting into your everyday undergarments.

So where did the idea come from? On the most basic level, I love sewing lingerie and I’ve struggled to find a truly exceptional source of materials in Europe. Big selection, easy-to-navigate website, clear descriptions of what the materials are, etc. While I’m certainly not claiming that my shop already achieves this at the moment, that’s my overall vision for the business.

On a deeper level, paying more attention to my undergarments, the fit, feel, and look of them, has been part of a personal journey I’ve been on for the past few years. (Ouf, gonna get a bit sappy here.) I don’t think I’m alone in admitting that becoming a mother had a huge impact on me, but I felt like Kirstin got lost when I turned into Mama. Now my babies are 6 and 3 years old, and sewing my own lingerie has given me a way to reclaim some of myself again. I can create something beautiful, that fits me well, that makes me feel gorgeous and sexy, and is just for me. Wearing pretty undergarments, and making them myself, is my form of self-care and my opportunity to practice a skill for the sake of my own enjoyment, and produce a garment for my eyes only.

(yeah yeah, I suppose my husband gets to see it too, but I wholeheartedly believe that lingerie is first and foremost for the person wearing it.)

And it’s that idea, that sewing your own lingerie can be empowering and soothing, that drove me to create the Small Bobbins shop. I want to spread those good vibes and give that opportunity to as many people as possible. In addition to selling materials, patterns, and kits, I also plan on organizing workshops and filming video tutorials. You can sew lingerie, I know you can! It’s all about practice, building your confidence with working with the materials, and getting in touch with your unique and lovely shape. I can’t wait to give you all the resources and pep talks that you might need to get you pumped about sewing your own lingerie!

Some practical notes about the shop opening!

Can I purchase everything I need for all of my lingerie projects from Small Bobbins?

Not yet! The shop is very much a work in progress, but the plan is to continue expanding the stock and eventually become your favorite one-stop shop for lingerie-making supplies. If there’s a particular product you’re searching for, always feel free to send me an email with a suggestion, to hello@smallbobbins.com!

Which countries do you ship to?

For now, Small Bobbins will ship to most of Europe. I’m based in Belgium, and for now, shipping is also available to Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, and United Kingdom.

What’s next for Small Bobbins?

Kits! Video tutorials! Continuing to improve the website! Sorting out cheaper shipping! PDF patterns! Monthly lingerie inspiration newsletters! Workshops! More and more and more products! Small Bobbins Studio! Take over the world!!!

But really, organizing and listing some kits is absolutely the first thing on my To Do list, so if you want to hear when those are ready, be sure to sign up for my newsletter or follow me on Instagram!

Anything else we should know about?

Besides that I love you all dearly and I would not have been able to do any of this without the support and encouragement from friends, family, and the sewing community, I do have to mention that I’m opening the shop and almost immediately going on vacation, ouch! Last orders will be shipped on Thursday, August 1, and any orders placed after 12pm on August 1 will be shipped on Monday, August 12.

Launching Small Bobbins Shop Read More »