Hello! I’ve taken a break from my intensive 5-day driving course practice — it’s quite exhausting, in case you were wondering — to bring you my first foray into lingerie making. Tackling underwear had been on my radar for a little while so when chief panty girl Madalynne contacted me to sew a sample of one of the patterns from her collaboration with Simplicity, I jumped at the chance. Madalynne X Simplicity 8228, a halter or racer back bralette and panties pattern, is now available from the stockists listed here.
First things first, let’s get it out of the way: yup, I have now put pictures of myself, in my underwear, on the internet. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that but if you’re reading this, I’ve pressed publish. Hopefully the photos are still fairly discreet. One of the main reasons I’ve included them is because I certainly like to see finished makes on bodies so thought others might as well? Of course, if this post make you scream ‘Wooooah! Put your bloomin’ clothes back on, Jen!’ that’s feedback I wanna hear.
I chose to sew view B; the racerback bralette and, inspired by Madalynne’s periwinkle version, quite fancied something similar. Some of the photos are a little blurry (I was fighting my camera’s fading battery and the dying light) but they also assist in maintaining some level of modesty, I hope.
Fabric & Findings
Sourcing the fabric and trimmings/findings etc., was by far the trickiest part! There are very few UK-based stockists which actually led me to get almost everything from Swedish stockist, B,Wear including galloon lace, powernet, clear elastic and picot elastic. They were reasonably priced (or at least I think so; it was all in Swedish Krona so I didn’t always convert) and arrived quite quickly and well-packaged. I’d also been a complete goon and not ordered everything I needed in my first order so contacted them to see if I could add items. They were really quick to respond and very kindly let me add other items to my shipment.
You have to adhere the powernet to the lace before cutting your pieces so I bought some of the recommended temporary adhesive; Odif 505, from Amazon.
Once the cotton spandex fabric I’d ordered for the panties arrived, I realised it wasn’t quite what I was looking for — I wanted something more Lyrca Spandex — so popped into Fabricland and got this matte lycra in white. It’s rather nice fabric. When I pre-washed it, my housemate had just done a ‘pink wash’ which I think gave the fabric a slight pink tinge but I don’t think you can tell. But I’ve since learnt that you don’t need to pre-wash lingerie fabric which Maddie actually writes about.
It would be great to have more UK stockists and I’ve just seen on Instagram that SEWN will imminently be stocking lingerie supplies. Just around the corner from my work. Yippee! But they should also be listed online soon.
Sizing and cutting
Based on my measurements (the widest part of my bust and under bust) I almost cut a DD! Since I’m normally a C cup, I thought this was a little big. So, after some consultation with Maddie, she recommend I cut the pieces for D and check fit. For the bands I cut size 34 and for the panties, size M.
Fitting and alterations
The fitting was pretty much spot on out of the envelope! And I only had to make one adjustment which was bringing the panties in at the top of the waist by 5/8″ (1.5cm) and grade out to the normal seam allowance for size M for ~4.5″ (11.5cm).
The pattern instructions were very good. If I can give you one piece of advice though, read the instructions first! I might be preaching to the converted but I certainly didn’t read the instructions, including the very important seam allowance of 1/4″.
In terms of the back of the packet, I was a little confused why it told me that I needed a bra hook and eye for the raceback bralette (view B). Because, unless I really missed something big (?!), I didn’t need this.
For the panties, a guide pattern piece is included for the leg and waist elastic. For some reason, these pieces came out short for me, especially considering the picot elastic should not be stretched to fit. Perhaps I’d sewn something with the wrong seam allowance and that’s why it didn’t fit? It may have been a similar story for the waist elastic as well but I decided not to use the pattern piece guide and just pin however much I needed and then trim the excess. Full disclosure: I ended up stretching the picot elastic on the waist of the panties. Sadface. That shit is sensitive. So I’ve actually had to pin it a little in these photos. That’s why there’s not really a shot of the back. Not because I have a humungous be-hind which I’m not ready for you to see or anything.
Topstitching: As per the pattern instructions, I stitched the seam allowances down using a zig-zag stitch.
SO comfortable. I’m seriously having to resist the urge to wear the bralette all the time and if you’ve seen me on SnapChat, you’ll see that I’ve been failing at that (that’s what the blue lace poking out underneath my tank top is). There’s certainly much room for improvement, mostly in terms of my technique and handling of the fabric and trimmings.
Would I recommend? YES! If you’re considering whether to try bra making, go for it! This pattern is a great introduction and produces lingerie with beautiful style. And if you’re near Philadelphia, consider one of Madalynne’s workshops (October or November) or one of her classes. She recently ran a workshop in London, which I am incredibly sad I missed!
With two of my makes from my August sewing plans vlog in the bag, I’m onto preparing for the Sewing Weekender. Thank you all SO much for your comments on both my vlog and blog for the chance to win a copy of The Great British Sewing Bee book, From Stitch to Style; some 80+ comments! I will get back to you all once my driving extravaganza week is over! If you haven’t already entered, there’s still plenty of time!
It seems from the comments that the blue/green viscose fabric is the most popular for Simplicity Sewing Challenge pattern, New Look 6346. But many of you have pointed out the beige-ish linen fabric would be great for transitioning to Autumn. Great advice! Why do I never think of this stuff?! So, I might go for that one.
Have you sewn any lingerie? If not, does this one take your fancy? If so, which ones? Would you recommend any I could progress to?