It’s still Sunday! I know I know, I’ve been total crap at posting this month- I completely missed last week- but I have a very valid excuse- I joined the quarter century club, that is- I turned 25- and it was a weekend of celebration and family and friends, and there were too many surprise plans to get anything done!
But of course I’m going to make it up to all you lovelies! So I’m starting today with a trio of posts! Today is a tutorial on using cut & sew foam in your bra/bathing suit, the next post will be on making your bra into a tankini oh la la, and the final post will be showing off the lovely tankini that I made for my mom 🙂
So on with todays tutorial!
How To: BraMaking with Foam
I’m going to start off by saying that I love foam. I’m a huge fan. I think that it helps so much to add structure, support, coverage and comfort in bras and especially in bathing suits.
There are different names and styles of foam that you can get for bra making, but they are all generally a layer of foam that has been laminated with fabric on both sides so that it’s nicer to work with. It can be called: cut & sew foam, bra foam, polylaminate foam padding (which would mean it’s laminated with polyester), it can also be called sheet foam. There are various thicknesses, qualities and fabric lamination that you can find, they’re all different and the best one is the one that you like the best.
— shameless self-promo here — I’ve found a foam that I import from France, it’s laminated in the softest microfiber, and it’s nice and thin (1.6mm) meaning that it doesn’t add too much volume, more just the softness, smoothness and overall shape of foam, and I completely adore it! It’s everything I love in foam, and I’ve been using it with everything I make since I got it! —
So once you’ve picked your foam, and you have your pattern that you like, you’ll need to add different seam allowances to your foam pieces than you do to the fabric that you’re planning to cover the foam with.
I’m going to say now- the #1 goal of sewing with foam is that you never fold the foam- it’s just too bulky. If you are seaming your foam together- it should be butt-together with a zig-zag stitch not seamed in a traditional way, and you should try to finish the edges in a way that the foam doesn’t get folded back on itself.
I’m going to show you the process of this step-by-step!
To start: this is my cup pattern, with no seam allowances:
For the inner foam layer, you only want to add seam allowances into the wireline.
*this is if you’re making a standard full-frame bra (not partial band) where you seam allowance along with wireline and channelling is going to be folded away from the bra*
You want to make sure that it you include this seam allowance so the foam gets caught under the channelling and is finished nicely on this area of the cup. Otherwise you don’t want to add any seam allowances to the underarm, neckline or the inner cup seams.
That will look like this:
Once you have your foam all lined-up, you will want to think about your cup-cover. For cup covers- there are many different fabric options you can choose- stretch and non-stretch- the only thing to consider with a non-stretch fabric is that you want to be quite precise with your sewing and your seam allowances to make sure that it fits over your foam perfectly, because you won’t have the same stretch and wiggle room that you have with a stretch fabric. Generally the added support and structure of foam gives you a lot more freedom with your fabric choice.
Once you’ve chosen your cup-cover, you will want to figure out your seam allowances for your cup cover. These will be the same as if you weren’t using the foam. So you will want to make sure that you have your seam allowances at the wireline, for the inner cup seams, and whatever neckline and underarm seam allowances you planned. For this bra I planned to have binding on the underarm and neckline, so I didn’t add any seam allowances.
I’m going to start with the bound-edge because it’s my favourite!
OPTION 1 – The Bound Edge
In this situation, you should have no seam allowances on your foam, or your cover along the neckline and underarm edges- and they should end together at the edge like this:
Then you want to cut a strip of binding, at least 4X the width that you want your finished bound-edge. So for this one, I want a 1/4″ bound edge so I cut my strip at least 1″ wide.
With right sides together pin your binding to the front of your free-edge.
Then you will stitch whatever width you wish for your bound edge to have, in this case I’m stitching 1/4″, which I think is a great choice.
Then it will look like this:
Then like any traditional bound edge, you flip your binding up and around to the other side, from the other side it will look like this with all the layers showing.
Then you’ll want to pin the binding down, enclosing the raw edge. You want it to be comfortably snug, so that it’s not loose, but you don’t want to squeeze the layers- so that you can maintain that nice 1/4″ distance that you sewed. I like to pin this down, just so I don’t have to worry about it while I’m sewing it down.
Then you just stitch in the ditch- trying to be as accurate as you can- and presumably using a matching thread colour, rather than the example black stitching that I’m showing you lol. Also if you prefer, I’ve stitched this with a zig-zag that is one-on and one-off the edge of the binding, and that works too.
On the underside you just trim off the excess fabric. This is of course something that is ideal for a knit fabric (which would be my bra fabric recommendation), but if you are using a woven fabric that could fray, than you might want to use a more traditional binding approach, where the binding is folded under on the underside and stitched.
OPTION 2 – The Elastic Finish
Now this other option is also great, and really good if you want the added support of elastic at your neckline or underarm.
For this method you want to make sure that you add an elastic allowance that matches whatever width of elastic you plan to use to finish the edge (in this case I’m using a 3/8″ elastic). And this will only be added to your cover fabric, not your foam.
I like to pin my fabric to my foam along those edges, just to hold them in place.
Then from the front side of your cup, just like you normally would (with your plush elastic side up), you will sew your elastic to the edge of the fabric. You want to butt your elastic up to where you can feel the foam end, so you are only sewing your elastic to the fabric and not the foam. And you want to sew on the inside edge of the elastic with a zig-zag stitch.
From the front it will look like this:
From the inside it will look like this, (At this point your foam is only attached with the pins, and NOT caught in the elastic)
Then you want to flip your elastic inwards, over the foam, encasing the raw edge of the foam. This is why it’s important not to stitch your elastic to your foam, because if you do, you will be folding your foam over on itself, making for a very bulky edge.
Then you will stitch down your elastic, on the inside edge- to secure it down, just like you normally would with your bra elastics.
In this example I’ve placed the picots so they’re facing in, so I can have a nice straight edge, but on bras you might normally like the picot showing.
And from the front you have your usual line of zig-zag stitching, the same as your regular fabric bra. But this time you have a foam lining – without the bulk.
As you can see both options offer very low-bulk finishes:
The Bound Edge Method:
The Elastic Finish Method:
Not only low-bulk which is nice to look at- but it’s also easier to sew.
Which finish do you like the best? Binding or elastic?
I’m a bound-edge girl myself, I just love a contrasting bound edge, I think it looks so clean and sharp- I’m sure you’re used to seeing it from me now!
Do you like to sew with foam?
Were there any foam-bra related things that I didn’t cover that you’re still wondering about?
Let me know!
It’s SWIMWEAR MONTH!!! You know me, this is my favourite, there’s nothing better than making swimwear- it’s like underwear for outerwear that I can show off to the world (not just online he he)!
And I was thinking about what I wanted to make this month and reminiscing about last year and my favourite makes, and last year on Week 23, I made my Retro Gingham 2 piece bathing suit– which I still love so much! But this time I thought- wouldn’t it be nice to have that same feel but in something a little lighter, more bikini, less ruched?
So I present to you my 2016 Gingham make- the Gingham Bikini! Yes, I am completely in love!
I made this using the same pattern from my demi lace bra in Week 4 with my France Wires, which I think gives it that perfect itsy-bitsy bikini look- but with WAY more actual support and shape!
But most exciting of all I used my new microfiber foam! It’s an absolute dream to work with and is like heaven against your skin, I think this is going to be my new staple! I just love the look and feel of foam in my bras and this foam is the best I’ve ever worked with!
I sewed my foam up like usual, finishing the top of the bikini with a binding edge, and using my swimwear elastic for a clean finish on the bottom band. Which also goes along with the simple elastic finish on my bikini bottoms!
And the fit of this is, as usual, spot on! And I think the foam makes it sit even more comfortably and smoothly! I can’t wait to wear this to the beach this summer!
But I suppose lounging around in the sunroom with Gibby isn’t too bad either 🙂
Of course, I don’t like to make things that I can’t offer to all of you lovelies, so here are the links:
So what do you think? Do you like this new bikini version? Or do you like last year’s retro stylings?
It’s a tough decision, I guess I’ll just have to run around all summer in these to see which one wins for me 🙂 *those moments when you really love your job* 🙂
How is the start of your June? Any little teasers about what you’re making?
You know I always love to hear from you!
But now on to all of the beautiful things that you’ve made this month!!!
First SO many beautiful bras from the very talented Emma!
Next we have two beauties from Réka of Red Heels!
This is the White Lace Longline, self-drafted and tweaked to perfection! How stunning is this bra? A tulle and white lace beauty!
Before the white lace, Réka worked with some black lace earlier in the month to make this black beauty! This is another self-drafted lovely with a power bar as well- a great touch!
And to go with them she made this adorable pair of knickers with a heart cut-out! Super cute!
Which also reminds me that Réka put out a free high-waisted panty pattern this month!! Make sure to check ‘The Budapest’ pattern over on Réka’s blog!!!
Next we have two lovely sets from Ciara of Crabigail Adams!
Ciara made this first set, her ‘Purple Rain’ set as a tribute to the movie and the stage costumes that Prince wore in the film, great inspiration! She used a modified PUG Shelley pattern, duoplex & sheer cup lining!
Next she made a black and pink set, and this set is full of amazing techniques from the lace placement, to the seven buttonholes on the neckline edge of each bra cup to lace this gorgeous pink ribbon through! WOW!
Make sure to check out more about this set over on Ciara’s blog!
Next we have multiple lovelies from the lovely Amber!
I think it’s safe to say that Amber is the queen of amazing nursing bras now, after two months of multiple incredible makes! Including this number with some vertical seaming!
Amber also made this beautiful horizontal seam bra with lace detail- love that lace placement!
Along with lots of matching undies!
But also- SUPER COOL- She made a bra dress (a nursing bra dress no less!) to wear at her Grandmother’s 90th Birthday this June! AMAZING! I’m totally feeling this bra dress- I might have to make one myself! Very inspiring!
Genevieve set a goal to make a good fitting bra by the end of May, and on her fifth attempt she finally got it!
She used the Bravo Bella 2 pattern, and now that she has a great fit- the sky’s the limit!
She will be blogging about her adventures in bra making soon, but until then, you can still check out her other posts– I mean her blog acronym does stand for ‘Sew a Button on your Underwear’ !
Next I have a submission from my good friend France!
France has been sewing up a storm for all the great men in her life using the Wallbrook Boxer Briefs pattern from Green Style Creations. Great choice of prints too!
Can I say, fantastic pattern matching on these, you can hardly tell there are seams! And very nice of your son to model them too!
Next we have a pretty white bra from Marion of Ill Signo!
Marion made her ‘ Pjure’ bra using a self-drafted pattern, and some lovely white sparkle spandex!
She used vertical seaming, full-band construction and some lovely little details like this square gold sliders & rings and a pretty self-fabric bow for the front!
It just takes those cute little details to make this bra special! Gorgeous!
Next we have a few makes from new contributor Lily!
Lily made this bra using the Watson pattern from Cloth Habit, in a very lovely floral print! I’m still really feeling the florals for spring and summer this year!
And since a Watson bra on it’s own can get a little lonely, she made sure to keep it company with a pretty cami and high-waisted panty! Loving everything about this set!!
Lily told me that she’s more of a panties and camis kind of girl, but that I’ve inspired her to take the plunge into some bra-making, which is super touching, since it is my secret mission to spread the love of self-made lingerie to every woman I can 🙂 🙂
As a undies maker, Lily also did a gorgeous job on this pair of black lace undies this month! Perfect for bottoms month this May! Gorgeous!
Next we have some more unders inspiration from Amy of SEWSNBOWS!
Amy was on fire with her undie making this month! She used it as a chance to work on some elastic sewing technique that she saw from My Panty Elastic Sewing Post earlier this month.
Next we have two pretty bras from Samantha!
Samantha wanted two light bras to go under all her summer clothes, and she definitely did a great job!
This first bra is made using a light nude tricot, and pink ribbon strap and bow details <3
Samantha made this next bra using peach duoplex and a matching peach stretch lace, so pretty and so fresh for spring/summer! Love!
Next we have four bras from the lovely Holly of Intimate Underpinnings!
Holly is a custom bra-maker, soon to be based in Boston! And these are some of the beauties that she’s made for clients this month.
Starting with this beautiful ivory lace bra for a client who was looking for a little lift with some beautiful lace.
Next she made this gorgeous purple lace bra, which looks like it jumped right out of the window of a high-end bra boutique!
Then things turned a little sassier for another client with this satin animal print number! va va vooom!
And finally rounding it out with a fantastic red and black lace mastectomy bra!
What a wonderful month for you Holly! You go girl!
And last but not least we have some nice sets from Ingrid of IsaTe’s Designs!
These two sets are her ‘Tardis Sets’ which I believe is a reference to Dr. Who (please don’t kill me Dr. Who fans, one day I might watch the show, but for now Game of Thrones is just too much of a life priority)
This first set features a self drafted boyshort along with a self drafted bralette, for the height of comfort!
For the next set Ingrid went with some of her old standby’s using the Sarah longline pattern from Ohhh Lulu, and the Brief pattern from Cloth Habit.
You guys have definitely shown me up this month, wow! Not only the actual number of bras that were made but also the crazy skill, it’s truly inspiring!! 🙂 You’re the best bra community!
And now that we’re all feeling inspired by our awesomeness, we can think about all the lovely things that we’re going to make for June too! Any swimwear on your horizon like there is on mine??
As always, don’t forget to check out the Pinterest board, and pin all of your lovelies over there! And if you’re on Instagram and posting your lovely makes- don’t forget to add in #braaweek!! You can go here to grab a challenge button!
Don’t forget to send your bra next month to [email protected] with your photos, description and links for the next Round-Up post!
Let me know what are your highlights of this round up, what’s been inspiring you for June and any sewing plans that you have!
You guys are the best!!
I think at this point it’s pretty clear that I love a good boyshort. I’m filling my drawer with as many pair as I can this month! And I wanted to do a little twist on the original this week with some lace on the side.
I really love the look of lace on a boyshort, but I find the ones that are made entirely of lace are very cheeky, require a very wide lace trim, and aren’t always as conforming to the shape of the leg since they have to be cut straight along the leg to allow for the decorative edge of the lace.
And of course, I don’t like to show you things that you can’t have too- so all of the fabrics and elastics are available in The Emerald Studio Etsy!
And along those lines, I can tell you that the boyshort pattern is coming along very soon! 🙂
I think that this combo with lace might be some of my favourites! I think it adds just the perfect amount of pretty and fun and interesting, without compromising any of the functionality or comfort!
How has your week in sewing been?
Today is going to be a Bra Theory post, or more accurately Panty Theory! Three ways that I like to sew panty elastic, which is also three different types of panty elastic too.
I got the idea from my post last week, where I used three different styles of elastic to finish my three pair of boyshorts, and I wanted to give a simple simple tips on the elastics I like and use, and how I like to apply them.
1. The Lace Trim
The first and easiest of them all is with a stretch lace trim. You can find these trims in different widths, I love this really narrow little one, but 1″ wide ones are nice too!
The best thing about this type of elastic is that it isn’t a very strong elastic, so it won’t cut into your skin and it won’t show through your clothing as much, which I love, and is also perfect for boyshorts, since they cut across the cheek and you don’t want much tension.
To sew it on, I like to use a regular 2-step zig zag, and I use stitch that is about 2.5-3 wide, and 2-2.5 long. These settings will be different depending on your machine, the only thing that you want to do is test your stitch to make sure that it isn’t tight and won’t snap when you pull on it.
With the right side of your fabric up, lay your elastic on the edge of your leg or waist opening. Stitch on the inside edge of your elastic.
When you come full circle lay your elastic overlapping your raw edge be 1/4″ – 3/8″, zig-zag to that point then pivot and zig-zag your elastic together. Then you can cut the elastic right at the edge of the join. With a stretch lace trim it will be barely noticeable.
Then you can trim off your fabric right to the edge of your zig-zag on the underside, super neat!
2. The Regular Elastic
Regular elastic is a very standard and great option. It’s a good option because it is great for matching to your bra, because you probably used that elastic in your bra, and this elastic should also have a nice plush soft side!
This style of elastic is also great for a full-seated style of panty because it does have a little more strength, and will do a good job of hugging a panty under the cheek if that’s what you want it to do!
This elastic application will have two passes of stitching. Start with the right side of your fabric facing up. Lay your elastic along the edge with the plush side facing up and picots facing in. Stitch with a zig zag stitch (I like to use a 3 width, 2.5 length) on the inside edge of the elastic, so that the inside stitch is almost touching the picot edge (this way only the little tips of your picots will show on the right side after you finish).
Now when you come full circle and meet the other side, just the same as before, overlap your elastic by about 1/4″, pivot and sew your elastic together, then trim your elastic to the edge of your join.
Then you can flip your elastic to the inside, I like to sew with the elastic facing up, and the wrong side of the fabric up, and keep a bit of tension on the fabric so it lays nice and flat under the elastic. You want to stitch on the inside edge of the elastic (the edge without picots now!) so that you can completely secure the elastic down. This step is really easy since your elastic is already in a round and you can just zip around the circle.
3. The Fold Over
You know me, I love some good fold-over elastic!
I like this because it has a super clean finish, that is really chic, and if you do it on a matching bra and panty set, it really pulls them together. It’s also a really smooth finish and it isn’t too tight on the leg, which I love.
Unlike the previous two methods you want to start with the wrong side of the fabric up. Lay your fold over so that it is open, with right sides up, and the center line of your fold-over is lined up with the outside edge of your fabric. Stitch on the inside edge of your elastic, being careful not to stitch on your fabric. I like to use a slightly smaller zig-zag for this (about 2.5 wide and 2 long).
When you’re coming up the the end of your leg hold/waist, cut your elastic so that it is about 1/2″ overlapping. Then fold that raw edge under by 1/4″ and you will have your elastic overlapping with a nice clean edge. Do the same stitching and pivoting as before.
Then you can trim your fabric and flip the panties so that the right side of the fabric is facing up, fold your elastic over, and stitch on the inside edge! You won’t have to worry about holding it down, or wedging your fabric in as you go, because it’s already sewn down once- super easy!
Now the other thing about these elastics that I am asked all the time is- do you stretch your elastic? And the answer to that question really depends.
It depends on how strong your elastic is- if it’s very firm, you won’t want to stretch it as much, it also depends on the style, if this is a cheek-hugging panty then you will want to put some tension on your elastic where you want it to hug under the cheek, but on a boyshort or a style where it is crossing your cheek, you don’t want much pressure, just the slightest hint of tension the the elastic keeps it’s form.
And there you have it- the three ways that I sew my panty elastic!
How do you like to sew your elastic? Which is your favourite?
Hope you’re having a great Sunday!