tips and tricks

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!

How to make a pair of garter panties Read More »

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!

Sew a Halloween-inspired pentagram bra Read More »

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!

How to use a Layered PDF Sewing Pattern Read More »

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!

Making and altering the Eloise set Read More »

How to sew adjustable bra straps

Another quick tutorial! Creating adjustable straps was, I will fully admit, so confusing when I first started making lingerie. I had to read the instructions every single time. I had to re-read them. I had to look up video tutorials. I had to stop and scratch my head and think and undo the teeny little seams I just made on the end of this little piece of elastic and try and try again.

BUT! Eventually, it became second nature! So here’s a tutorial for you to refer to over and over again until it finally sticks in your brain!

(I also have a video version up on Youtube if you prefer that medium!)

How much elastic should I use? If you’re using a sewing pattern, it should suggest the lengths for the straps. With the folding and stitching, I would say that you lose about 2.5-3″ (6-8cm) of your original length, and the remaining length can adjust to about half as much as that. So if you need a strap that covers a distance of (for example) 20″, then you’ll need to cut a piece that is, at the very minimum, 23″ (but then your slider is smushed all the way against the ring, so you may want a few extra inches of wiggle room!).

Adjustable bra strap tutorial by Small Bobbins #1

So we’ve got a piece of strap elastic, a slider that is equal (maaaybe ±1mm) in width to the elastic, and a ring (this doesn’t need to be as exact, but equal to the strap width is convenient). Most strap elastic has two sides; a discernible right side and wrong side. In my case, the right side is shiny, and the wrong side is plush (that’s the soft side that you want against your skin). We’re starting with the wrong side facing up.

Adjustable bra strap tutorial by Small Bobbins #2

Take the top of the elastic and loop it through the slider.

Adjustable bra strap tutorial by Small Bobbins #3

And then loop the elastic down through the other side of the slider. That little tab will have the shiny/right side facing up now.

Adjustable bra strap tutorial by Small Bobbins #4

Stitch across the tab. You can use a straight stitch or bar tack (a very tight, narrow zigzag).

Adjustable bra strap tutorial by Small Bobbins #5

Thread the ring through the bottom part of the elastic, and bring the bottom tail up to the slider.

Adjustable bra strap tutorial by Small Bobbins #6

Stuff the bottom part of the strap up through the bottom of the slider.

Adjustable bra strap tutorial by Small Bobbins #7

And then stuff the tail through the other end of the slider.

Adjustable bra strap tutorial by Small Bobbins #9

Pull the tail through. That part of the elastic is now free to be attached either directly to your garment, or looped through another ring. Something (part of a garment, a tab of strap elastic) can be looped through the first ring to attach the other end.

Adjustable bra strap tutorial by Small Bobbins #8

Ta da! You’ve made an adjustable bra strap!

This tutorial will come in handy for the next project/vlog that I have coming up, so stay tuned 😉

How to sew adjustable bra straps Read More »

How to sew enclosed seams

I have a quick lingerie sewing tutorial for you today, perfect for those of you who are getting started with sewing lingerie for #KnickerNovember! Enclosed seams aren’t required for sewing lingerie, but odds are that you’ll probably come across them fairly quickly (and if they’re not mentioned in the pattern instructions, probably you’ll find ways to add them in).

So, what are enclosed seams? What I mean when I refer to enclosed seams is that you’re sewing together three or four layers of fabric, and the raw seam is enclosed neatly between the layers, so it’s neither seen when looking at the inside of the garment, nor felt against your skin. It’s a great way to have a neat-looking interior and provides extra stability when the raw seam isn’t exposed to too much agitation.

You can probably use this method whenever you’re attaching pieces of fabric that include a lining on at least one side; the finished seam will be enclosed between the lining and self fabric of one side.

Erm. Confused yet? Well, that’s what the tutorial is for! (Or, I have a handy video tutorial up on Youtube to help you too!)

In this example, I’m sewing together a two-piece bra cup, so I have the self and lining fabrics for the side cup, and the self and lining fabrics for the center cup. Two of each = four pieces of fabric.

I’ve lined up my fabrics so that the wrong sides are touching for the self and lining side-cup, and the wrong sides are touching for the self and lining center cup, jut to help me visualize how the pieces will get sewn together.

(If the centers need to be sewn together on the bra/lette, I’ll start there and work my way out. In this case, since it’s a triangle bra with only two pieces per cup, it doesn’t make a difference which order you go in, but you should do the same on each cup!)

Now, I’m going to treat the center cup lining and self as one piece of fabric. Ignore that it’s two pieces; the self fabric is now the right side and the lining fabric is now the wrong side.

Essentially, the next step is that you’re going to create a little fabric sandwich. Take your self side cup, and flip it over on top of your center cup, so the self pieces are right sides touching.

Now take your side cup lining, flip it over (right side up) and place your other pieces on top of it. Now from bottom to top, you have:

  • side cup lining, right side up
  • center cup pieces, right side up
  • side cup self, right side down

Do what you need to do to line up the seam, pin/baste if necessary, and sew the seam with the specified seam allowance.

When you’re done, flip the side cup pieces over and, ta da! A beautiful cup, and no seam to be seen!

How to sew enclosed seams Read More »

Get ready for #KnickerNovember!

With October wrapping up shortly, myself and a couple other lovely sewing ladies have planned something exciting for next month: #KnickerNovember!

I’ve already posted a little video introduction over on Youtube, but here’s what you can expect.

Who’s hosting? The idea originally came from Laura (of the Specky Seamstress on Youtube and Instagram) and Romy (@romy.kate on Instagram), and they brought me on board. Of course I was totally into the idea!

What’s the challenge? It’s pretty simple; sew a pair of knickers! (That’s ‘underwear’ for the non-Brits out there!) Although, really, you can sew any sort of undergarment that you’d like to! The point of #KnickerNovember is to encourage anyone who’s interested in sewing underwear/lingerie to just give it a go! If you’ve been waiting for a sign, if you’ve been waffling on the idea, if you’ve been thinking about it for a while, this is the time to do it!

What’s in it for you? PRIZES! We have an amaaaazing list of sponsors who have donated prizes and vouchers to #KnickerNovember:

How can you enter? Simply sew up a pair of knickers (bralette, garter, bra, harness, whatever!) and post it on Instagram between Nov 1st and Nov 30th. Use the hashtag #KnickerNovember and tag myself (@smallbobbins), Laura (@thespeckyseamstress), and Romy (@romy.kate) so we can see your lovely creations! At the beginning of December, we’ll pick one main winner who impressed us the most to win the biggest prize, as the remaining prize winners will be chosen by random draw. Everybody has a chance to win something!

Who’s eligible to win prizes? Pretty much everybody! Where noted, some prizes are only open for UK residents (due to shipping constraints) but others are open internationally.

How can you get started asap?! Get prepared! I have a bunch of content already posted here on the blog and also on my Youtube channel to help get you started with sewing lingerie. Check out my Youtube series on sewing and reviewing 10 free underwear patterns, or the coordinating blog posts (one, two, three!). There’s also the bralette series (the final Youtube video is going up soon!) and the blog posts for those as well (one, two, three, four, and five + six are coming soon!). Throughout the month, I’ll post new videos and blog posts that are smaller snippets of tips and advice to get you started (no more hour-long videos!!), pattern round-ups, inspiration, etc.

Are you excited? SO AM I!!!

As always, feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions, comments, or feedback!

Get ready for #KnickerNovember! Read More »

How to mirror lace

Here’s a quick tutorial that will help elevate any of your sewing projects that are using lace! Just like pattern-matching when you’re making a dress (for example), mirroring your lace pieces will elevate your final piece with eye-catching symmetry.

It’s really simple to do!

Keep in mind that you may need more lace than expected, depending on how the pattern repeats on your lace. You’re not necessarily making the most efficient use of the lace with this technique.

In this tutorial, I’m demonstrating this technique with the bronze lace and pink stretch tulle that are available in my shop! (Psst, they look great together in this kit too!)

How to mirror lace - 1
How to mirror lace - 2

Start with your lace right side facing up. Using your pattern piece, decide how you want to place your lace, and cut it out. In my example, I’m cutting out part of the back piece of a pair of panties and making use of the scalloped edge of this lace

How to mirror lace - 3
How to mirror lace - 4

Now, flip your cut piece over! (In the first picture, the cut piece is right-side up. In the second picture, the cut piece is right-side down) With the right side facing down, look for the matching design (maybe a particularly big flower or swirly part). It’ll probably be on the opposite side of the one you started on. (So, if you cut out your first piece along the top of the lace, you’ll probably use the bottom edge now).

In my photos, I outlined the big flower that I was focusing on to help me align the two pieces.

How to mirror lace - 5

Align the pieces as best as you can, right sides together; you’ll notice how clear it looks once the design lines up. It’s like a puzzle; it wants to line up! This will ensure that your pieces are as symmetrical as possible.

How to mirror lace - 6

I used the paper pattern piece to make sure I knew exactly where to cut, and pattern weights to make sure the pieces didn’t shift around.

How to mirror lace - 8
How to mirror lace - 9

Ta da! Rather than playing pattern tetris when cutting out your lace, this is an easy way to ensure that your finished garment will look more polished and professional!

How to mirror lace Read More »

Free Bralette Patterns Review: Part 3 – Cutting

A bit of a delay, but the next video in my Youtube series about reviewing ten free bralette patterns is now live on my channel. Okay so… yes, it was originally supposed to cover cutting out the fabric and starting some sewing, but the video started running too long, so that part will come next.

Cutting out the fabric is never as straightforward as it seems like it should be (except for the Hyacinth bralette, that one was really simple). For a bralette, you’re probably dealing with multiple fabrics, like stretch lace and stretch tulle. They’re delicate and shifty. The patterns may need to follow certain directions for stretch (sometimes, but not always, you’ll want the direction of greatest stretch to go horizontal around your body), they may make use of scalloped edges, and you may want to mirror your lace for a better-looking end result. Plus, you’re probably dealing with much smaller pieces of materials to start.

With all that said, in the video, I do cover certain techniques and advice for cutting on the fold vs. cutting in a single layer, how to mirror lace, how to make use of a scalloped edge, etc., but mostly you just get to witness (sped up, of course) me hemming and hawing about how best to line up my pattern pieces, a couple instances of realizing I’m short on materials, trying my luck with cutting a piece with a different stretch direction, and the overall drudgery of cutting out ten bralettes in one go. (Drudgery, yes, but absolutely necessary, of course!)

In the video, I also briefly went over my favorite tools for cutting out lingerie fabrics. I am on Team Rotary Cutter all the way. I find it to be easier to work with shifty fabrics, especially when the pieces themselves have a lot of curves and are fairly small, BUT I also think it comes down to personal preference. I’m just a mess with scissors, is what I’m saying.

I think I downplayed the importance of pins in the video, but duh, I use pins a lot. Especially later on when it came to marking and sewing darts, because marking pens don’t really work on most lingerie fabrics.

I mentioned spray adhesive, but actually I really don’t end up using it for as often as I talk about it! I don’t know if it’s my materials specifically, but it doesn’t adhere that well to the stretch tulle or meshes I’ve used (too many holes??), so I don’t often see the benefit of using it for myself.

About a dozen different types of scissors are always needed for any sewing project, but for cutting out the fabric, good ole fabric scissors and a pair of snips come in handy the most.

And if nothing else, make sure your cutting instruments are sharp! Honestly, did you guys cringe as much as I did watching the video? I had a very dull blade in my rotary cutter and insisted on powering through the bralettes before changing it. It shows! You can honestly see the struggle to cut through the materials, and I had to edit out a lot of footage of me going back to trim all the spots that didn’t get cut during the first pass. Ugh, do as I say (not as I do) and change your blades!

In the next video, for real this time, there will be sewing! I’m going to start by constructing the cups and bands of all the bralettes, which will involve sewing darts, enclosed seams, and other techniques!

Free Bralette Patterns Review: Part 3 – Cutting Read More »

What materials do you need to make a bralette?

As part of my video series about making and reviewing 10 free bralette sewing patterns, I also spend some time going over some general information about materials you’ll need to make a bralette, plus some advice on what you can do if you need to swap out materials based on availability, or your needs for support and/or comfort. In case reading is more to your preference, I figured I’d write it out here as well!

Fabrics:

mauve floral cut-out lace

Generally, you’ll need at least one type of fabric, and this is your main or self fabric. Typically, the pattern will call for something with stretch (I don’t think I see many bralette patterns that use non-stretch fabrics, but please correct me!). This could include knit fabrics, stretch lace (either an allover lace fabric, or a narrower galloon lace), scuba, stretch mesh, stretch tulle, power net, etc.

I have noticed that there’s not really a set standard on what a fabric is referred to and the amount of stretch/support/recovery it has, but generally something like a “power net” or “power mesh” will probably have a more stable, supportive stretch than something like a stretch mesh. In my own shop, I carry stretch tulle, which I consider between a stretch mesh and power net, as well as a few limited edition stretch meshes (in amazing prints and colors).

Lining:

lavender stretch tulle

Some patterns call for an optional lining, some require a lining. It might be used for modesty (especially if you are otherwise using very sheer or lacy materials for your main fabric), for providing additional support (if your main fabric is too stretchy), or for enclosing any raw seams. In some cases, you can use your main fabric also as lining, or anything soft and appropriately stretchy (or not, according to the pattern) will work, like stretch mesh, stretch tulle, power net, knit fabric, etc.

Band and underarm elastic:

11mm plush-backed picot elastic, light pink

Something with a plush side will guarantee that it feels comfortable against your skin, and typically these will come with a decorative edge, like a picot or a scallop. Generally, although it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, you’ll use a narrower-sized elastic for under your arms, sometimes around the cups, around the top of the back band (again, depending on the pattern itself) and a more wide elastic around the band. Since you are depending on the band for support, this would be a good place to use a wider elastic if you would like more support, so perhaps a 15mm or 19mm picot elastic instead of 13mm. (If you do this and stray from the pattern suggestions, make sure you alter the paper pattern with those extra millimeters to get the fit as intended!) (Or, walk on the wild side and do whatever you want!)

20mm foldover elastic, white

For finishing the cups/underarms, I’ve seen some patterns call for using clear, narrow elastic, especially if it’s a lace edge. Or you could consider using foldover elastic. If using FOE and the pattern didn’t call for it, you may want to consider chopping off the seam allowance in that spot, since you’ll no longer be folding that away.

Strap elastic:

12mm satin strap elastic, light purple

Typically, you should not use picot elastic for your bra straps. They’re meant to be somewhat stable to provide some support (but not all! your straps aren’t ever supposed to supporting the breasts completely). Think, if your straps are too stretchy (and picot is generally stretchier than strap elastic), then the breasts will just make the straps sag and dig into your shoulders. Not comfy!

diamond narrow elastic

Okay, so yes, we’re using strap elastic for the straps. Again, wider-sized elastic will generally offer more support and comfort if you require it, but you can also think about the style of your bralette. Maybe a wide, 18mm strap will look really nice, even if you don’t need the extra support. Maybe delicate 5mm straps, doubled up and criss-crossing all over the place, will look lovely. Again, always check the pattern’s recommendations first, but I think you have some freedom to choose your own adventure with the strap elastic.

Rings and sliders:

Matte black metal ring and slider set, 10mm

If you’re making adjustable straps, your sliders need to match your strap elastic (within 1-2mm larger, maybe!) or else they won’t function properly. The rings, you can change it up a bit more, especially depending on the design. Do you plan to join several straps together in the same ring? Size up! It’s not a great idea to go smaller than your elastic size, because then it won’t fit too well (duh), but you don’t have to be as exact with the size of the rings.

And honestly, you don’t have to use rings and sliders! If you sew straps that are exactly the size that you need, or make them adjustable in other ways (ties! hooks! get crazy!), then you can leave them off completely.

Closures:

57mm white hook & eye closure

A lot of bralette patterns out there are meant to be pull-on style, so you might not even need closures. Or, if it’s all made of stretchy fabric, you might just want to skip sewing a closure on, it’s up to you! If you do use a closure, like a hook and eye, you’ll just want to make sure that you’re either 1) buying the size that the pattern calls for, or 2) adjusting the pattern before you cut out your fabric to make sure that everything will line up nicely when you’re sewing. Hook and eyes are usually one of the last pieces that you put on the bralette, after you’ve constructed the whole bra, after you’ve sewn on the elastic, and it is crushing to get to the end and realize that your hook and eye is going to look wonky because it’s way bigger or way smaller than the finished band. Taking five minutes to check before you cut out your fabric could save your project, and don’t forget seam allowances from applying elastic!

Of course, there are tons of bralette patterns out there, and plenty more to come, so it’s totally possible that there will be other materials you might end up using when making a bralette, but this list probably covers a good majority of what you would need! Now go forth and make some beautiful bralettes, and if you need any materials, you know where to find them.

What materials do you need to make a bralette? Read More »