Today I have something super fun! As you know, I was away on holiday last week and I made myself some bikinis for the trip. And I basically lived in my bikinis, which got me thinking of ways that I could change them up, and make them more interesting that just the same bikini everyday.
I also made lots of bikini strings using the second (and my favourite method) of sewing swimwear straps from my tutorial , and with this method you have to trim off the excess fabric from beside your seam, which leaves you with all these tiny little strips of swimwear fabric…
Which naturally got the creative juices flowing, and I thought about all the beautiful charms and accessories that I could string on to my bikinis! And this is what I came up with on my trip!
Very simple things like this little fish charm for a bit of fun!
Or a silver turtle to add some interest!
Or some interesting charms with extra strapping!
So now that I’m back and have full access to all my beads and charms I thought I would go through and come up with some great bikini accessories that will mix up your bikinis!
Here are three accessory ideas for a simple black bikini- the most versatile swimwear I own for sure!
Adding a little rhinestone bling to the string of your bikini between the cups makes a really simple bathing suit look SUPER expensive and classy- especially when you pair it with high-waisted bottoms!
But some days I’m feeling a little more fun and tropical- and I love matching black tops, with printed bottoms and tying them in with an accessory! Not to mention it adds a little attention to the décolletage!
But then sometimes I’m feeling a little more sporty chic! And I love to pair it up with some simple boy shorts and a fun charm that hangs lower- like this fox! I think it’s just so fun!
And a little bonus pink bikini idea!
Accessories also really jazz up bright bikinis too! I LOVE this little leopard 🙂 and with my mermaid bikini bottoms- it’s the perfect land meets sea!
I hope I’ve inspired you all for some swimwear coming up!
I know that for me bikini accessories are amazing because I am a totally indecisive style chameleon, and I love that I can make one bikini look like five different bikinis with just a couple strings and charms! And of course mixing and matching with the bottoms is great too! I just love having choice!!
Which of these bikinis is your favourite version? Are you inspired to spice up some of your swimwear?
Firstly- A Very Happy Valentine’s Day!! Or as I prefer to call it Day Before On-Sale Chocolate Day / Selfish Lingerie Sewing Day!
It’s Bra Theory this week! And I had a wonderful suggestion from the lovely Ilna for a tutorial on making a scalloped-lace frame for bras. And I thought my new black lace would be perfect for it!
This is giving you a HUGE sneak peak into the bra-make that you’re going to see next week! And to give you another sneak peak about another special thing that you’ll see to go with it next week…
Scarlett has very generously offered you, my lovely readers, 50% off her Vixen Waist Cincher for the rest of February with the code VIX-E-FEB! Happy Valentine’s Day All!! Head over to get your pattern and get a look at the corset that will be featured in my post next week!! 🙂
Now- onwards to the tutorial!
To make a lace frame there are some modifications that you have to do to your standard bra frame. This is the bra frame pattern that I use with my plunge wires:
To have a scalloped lace bottom to your frame, you’re going to have to have a straight bottom edge on your frame (as opposed to this pattern piece that has a nice curve following the cups), because your lace fabric edge follows a straight line.
But before you go and chop off the bottom of your frame- let’s do a little deconstructing and thinking first, so you know you won’t run into any problems later.
So in this image below, I’ve taken the same frame, but I’ve marked my seam 1/4″ allowances (in turquoise), then I’ve marked where my channelling and underwire goes 3/8″ (in pink), then I’ve marked my elastic allowances 3/8″ for this bra (in purple).
I find doing this gives you a better idea of exactly what is happening with your pattern pieces, and how you can make adjustments to your pattern successfully. So from this you can think about two things that will help you convert your pattern to a lace band:
1. You CAN NOT touch the seam allowances and the channelling allowance around the cup. If you make it more narrow than your 1/4″ seam allowance plus your 3/8″ channel allowance, then you won’t have enough width in your frame to cover your channel- you have to work around that.
2. Your elastic allowance at the bottom isn’t relevant anymore, since you won’t be turning your bottom edge up (because your bottom edge will be lace).
So with that information- there are two ways that you can make a lace band, you can make it in one piece- straight across, or you can make it in two pieces with seam in the middle.
This is the first way:
This is if you want to use ONE solid piece of lace for your frame, and it will go straight across. You can go as narrow as the yellow line (right to the bottom of your channels) or you can lengthen it to make it a longer-line for an effect like this bra:
(thank you Pinterest)
If you are working with your pattern as a half-frame and you haven’t traced the whole thing out like I’ve done, then all you have to do when you draw your line, is to make sure that it is exactly perpendicular to your center front line, so that you don’t have it on an angle.
And remember- this new bottom line is your finished edge, you don’t have to add elastic allowances because you won’t be flipping your elastic in.
So that is the first way to make a lace band. The other way is to make a two-piece lace band, with a seam of the center front. This is my favourite way to make a lace band because I love the angles- this is the same idea as making a gothic arch.
Because this is going to be a two-piece frame (seamed up the middle) it’s easy to show on the half-frame. With this style, instead of making your bottom edge perpendicular to your center front, you’re going to put it on an angle so that your bottom edge will be an upside-down ‘V’.
Now the angle that you choose can be more (the yellow line) or less (the pink line) dramatic, it’s all about your preference- and you also have to remember that for a more dramatic angle- you will also be widening your side seam, and will have to adjust your back band piece to match.
Don’t forget to add a seam allowance to the center front, because you will have a seam there!
So I’ve decided for my example to go with a more dramatic ‘V’.
Remember when you’re cutting out your frame, that the bottom edge is your finished edge, and that line should follow the lowest valleys of your lace edge, so that the scallops stick out past that point.
Now there are a couple caveats to this. The MOST important thing about placing your band is that the bottom of your seamlines (where your seams end at the bottom of the band) fall on a low point of the lace- or are touching the very edge of the lace, so that when you sew it up together it’s not mid-scallop and making your seam longer than you intended.
This will sometimes mean that you want to play with your side seams a bit to get the lace to fall where you want it to, and in this case I’m using a lace with big scallops, so I can’t get the lace to fall perfectly along the lowest point, so there is a spot you can see where the lace edge dips in and isn’t covering my pattern piece. That is not ideal, but it’s also not the end of the world, as long as it doesn’t dip in too far or dip in to the channelling area.
Another thing to note is that the most important part of placing the lace is considering the center front. Make sure you have a beautiful center front that is going to look nice will go a long way to making your bra beautiful and look more RTW, in this case I made sure that I started it right at the bottom most point of a big scallop, so that it could fan out on each side from that point. If you have a lace that mirrors than you can cut your frame out to be perfectly symmetrical on each side, and if not, the important thing is to match the scallops!
Once you’ve got the perfect placement, then cut out your linings to match if you’re using them, and sew your frame like usual, matching your center front seam. Then sew your back band onto your frame. Remember that your back band still has elastic allowance, in this case I’m using a 3/8″ elastic so my band sticks out 3/8″ below the bottom edge of my front frame.
Now it’s time for the first part of elastic application. You’re going to sew your elastic to the RIGHT side of your back band, just like you normally would on the inside edge. But you’re going to stop right at the edge where your back band ends and meets your front frame. You want to be sure that your elastic is sewn right to that point where they meet, so that when you flip your elastic to the inside it looks seamless with your frame. (Also a small aside, I’m sewing my elastic so that the picot edge is facing in, so that it doesn’t compete with my lace edge).
Once you sew your elastic to one side of your band, you’ll want to leave a tail of elastic that is long enough to make it along your frame and cross at the center.
*If you are doing a straight across lace band and want to do your elastic in one solid piece, then you will have to measure your elastic to make sure it is the exact length you need, and you will be sewing both ends of this elastic to either side of your back band leaving it open in the center.*
I like to sew my bra cups into my frame before I sew my elastic to the frame, to help guide my elastic placement, and make sure I don’t overlap into my seam allowances!
So your next step is to flip your elastic to the inside on your back band and sew your second pass, once you get to where your elastic meets your frame, it should be perfectly lined up, and you can continue sewing your elastic along your frame. If you’re doing a gothic arch like I am in the example, you can pin your elastic before so they cross in the center and you can sew it in one-pass, staying on the inside edge of the elastic again. After you finish this pass the elastic will be sewn down fully on your back band, and you can go in and sew your second pass on the bottom edge of your elastic in the frame.
For the gothic arch style, you will have this criss-cross in the front and these tails that stick out. I like to leave these long while I sew on my first pass of the channelling so they are easy to pin out of the way.
Then, once your channelling is attached, you want to trim these elastic ends so they will be caught under the channelling- for a nice finish.
Then when you fold over your channelling- super neat interior finish!
Then you can sew on your underarm elastic, and do your other bra finishings, sew down your channel and voila! You have a beautiful lace band!
And I’m not going to show too many pictures of the final finished bra- you’ll have to wait until next week for more pics!!
That’s all you get for now!!!
Also don’t forget I still have my Giveaway happening for this beautiful lace kit!!
I’ll be drawing the winner next Sunday! And all you have to do to enter is sign up for my newsletter in the side bar!! 🙂 🙂
Today I have a tutorial!! YAY!! I know I’ve been promising more tutorials on swimwear this summer and here is my first! and it’s picture heavy!!
When you make swimwear chances are your going to need to make some straps- like bikini strings, or little halter straps but these techniques also apply on wider straps too!
I like to make my bikini strings with elastic in them. Generally straps are going to have to hold up against some lifting and pulling, and I find that swimwear alone is too weak and will stretch further than your stitches will allow for, giving you less support and more chances of popped stitches.
The elastic I use for narrow straps/strings is the same as my general swimwear elastic- I like a silicone coated rubber, in 9mm width (which is a hair under 3/8″). But, as I said, this technique applies to wider elastics too!
This is a one-stitch method, where you are essentially stitching your elastic to the seam allowance of your fabric and turning it right side out- it has to be a little more precise with measurements and stitch placement. Let me break it down:
First you start off with your fabric- you need a strip of your swimwear fabric that is exactly 4X the width of your swimwear elastic– so for my 3/8″ elastic that would be 12/8″ or 1 1/2″- by however long you want your strap. I love to do this with my quilting ruler and my rotary cutter!
Now that you have your strip you fold and pin it in half lengthwise, right sides in like this:
Then you line up your elastic with the cut edges of your strip of fabric. (you can pin this but I find the elastic is a nightmare to pin, and it’s easier to just feed it in as you go). You will notice that the fold of fabric that your elastic doesn’t cover is the same width as your elastic.
Now your going to stitch through your elastic and layers of swim fabric with a zig-zag stitch, something with a good amount of stretch allowance. On my machine like to use a 2.5 X 2.5 stitch. Don’t stretch your elastic when you do this!
It’s important that your stitches are towards the inside of the elastic (towards the fold of fabric)- you want one of your stitches right on the edge of your elastic. This is important because it determines the size of tube you are creating for the cover of the elastic- too far to the outside edge of your elastic and your tube will be too big, and if you stitch off the elastic into the fabric fold then you make the tube too small! It should look like this:
Now you have to turn your strap. This is the part that is a bit of a pain- the best method is to close off one end of your tube and use the ‘stick and the straw’. – this one is called the “Turn it All”
You feed your straw through the tube up to the closed end,
This is partly where the frustration can come- if you have a LONG strap (like the rib-cage string on a bikini!) there is a lot of squeezing and squishing to get all your strap on the tube without it coming off the other end!
Then when you get to the end you use the stick to poke it though your straw, turning it right-side out!
Your final result is a string, with a seam near the back edge of your strap- and a plain front, all seam allowances enclosed! It’s also nice because the elastic is stitched down in the strap so it can’t twist or bunch! You will see the stitches at the seam but they are very minimal- in this example I used a contrasting black just so you could see better- I should also tighten up my stitch a little!
I like this method because you can do it in one stitch- and all the edges are enclosed. Also with matching thread and a nice tight stitches the seam is almost invisible giving it a very professional look! The downside is having to turn it (you will know what I mean when you try it!) and also- if you do ever break a stitch on this, you pretty much have to turn it back inside out to fix it *gulps*.
So to compare here’s another way!
This method is slowly winning for me- it takes less precision, less measuring and is a little quicker for long straps/strings- but it does have a different result- both methods have a place!
For this method you are going to cut your strip of swimwear at least 4X wider than your elastic- but this doesn’t have to be precise. You could also just use the straight edge of your whole yardage of swimwear fabric.
You start by lining up your elastic at the outer edge of your strip of fabric, with the wrong side of the fabric touching the elastic.
Then you’re going to stitch your elastic to the fabric- again don’t stretch your elastic.
Use a zig-zag (again I used a 2.5 X 2.5), and your going to stitch towards the outer edge of your elastic- it doesn’t have to be right on the edge but you want to keep it closer to that side. It should look like this:
Then you’re going to take your elastic and your going to fold it once in toward the fabric with the right side of the fabric out,
Then you’re going to fold it a second time in towards the fabric, so that your stitches are hidden, and are facing away from you.
Now you’re going to stitch that down. As your stitching you want to make sure that you keep some tension on your extra fabric hanging out to the side, so that it stays nice and smooth and the elastic stays wrapped up tight!
You’re going to stitch towards the ‘inner edge’ of your elastic – towards the extra fabric, this will make sure that your first line of stitching doesn’t show. But you don’t want to stitch right on the edge- leave about 1/8-1/4 of an inch from the outside of your stitch to the edge of you elastic.
Then you flip it over and trim off your extra fabric- this is why it’s good to leave that 1/8-1/4″ to the edge of your elastic- so when you trim the fabric it stays neat on the backside of your strap and doesn’t stick out from the edge.
What I like about this method is that it is also very secure- if for any reason your stitches break, there is a double row of stitching, and you can also go over it and fix it without too much bother. It’s also so quick and easy- no turning the straps right side out, no precise measurements to worry about for accuracy. I also find this easier for wider straps. The downside is that you have a visible zig-zag on the outside, and a raw edge (although swimwear doses’t fray).
I’ve used both methods quite a bit:
This is the first method for some sleek strings on this bikini from Week 12 :
And the second method for some wide straps on the back of my retro suit from Week 23:
Which method do you like better?
Also what other swimwear tutorials would you like to see this summer?
If you didn’t already know the Sewcialists blog is having a Lingerie Sewing Month!! YAY!
And I was thrilled when they asked me if I would contribute with a guest post!
So I thought I would do a useful post that I know a lot of you guys have been asking for! A tutorial on Cut & Sew Foam and Fold Over Elastic– my two bra-making favourites- as I’m sure you all know!
So this tutorial covers the materials I like to use, and more specifically how I like to sew with them! It gets into the nitty-gritty of stitch lengths and widths and lots of other detail- it went on for a long post! But I felt like I could talk endlessly!
Make sure you head on over to check it out– and all the other wonderful lingerie posts this month!!
What tutorial would you like to see from me next? They’re a lot of fun to make!
I was so excited about Part 2 of my guest post from Scarlett of CorsetTraining.Net, and the second half of her corset making tutorial that I’m posting it a day early! If you haven’t seen Part 1 yet, you can just hop on over here!
Don’t forget that Scarlett is giving a special 1 week discount for 30% OFF her corset making course and her patterns to all you, my lovely readers, which will end this Thursday! Just use the code ERIN30!!
Here’s a little sample of the course if you’re interested!! 🙂
Doesn’t that just get you excited for corset making!
Now back to the tutorial!
In the Part 1 of the tutorial Scarlett went over materials, cutting out your pattern, basting and sewing your channels, now in part 2 she will show how to take it to a beautifully finished corset!!
Now we need to add the eyelets.
Your eyelet pack will
come with a set of hole cutting tools and a set of eyelet setting tools which
you’ll need a hammer to ‘activate’ 🙂 Mark where you want your eyelets,
starting at the waistline which is marked on the pattern. Place the first two
an equal distance from the waist and continue marking the others above and
below. Make sure you don’t get too close to the corset edges as you’ll need to
get your bias binding on later. I’ve spaced mine just over an inch apart and they’re
a little bit close to the edges for my liking.
Next we sew all the
Sew each seam together
and press the seam allowance open, then toward the back before giving it a trim
and clip to release tension. Take your bone casing and sew it over the seam
allowance as shown above so the stitching next to the seam is about 1/8 of an
inch from the seam stitching. Stretch and smooth out your fabric under the bone
casing as you go to minimise wrinkles.
Now we just have the
binding to go. First you need to trim the seam allowance from the bottom edge
of your corset.
Add the bias binding as
shown above; unfold and place the raw edge against the bottom edge of your
corset on the outside and sew just inside the crease. Then fold the ends in,
the binding over to the inside and secure with pins. Make sure to pull it down further
on the inside than the outside so that you can then sew through it from the
right side of the corset as shown above. Once you’re finished it should look
something like this –
Finally, push all your
bones into their casings and add the top edge of binding in the same way. Be careful
to push your bones all the way to the bottom of the casing so you don’t
accidentally sew through them.
Here is my finished
corset belt with the emerald ice cream right in the middle. Probably the most
eye-hurtingly colourful corset I’ve ever made but perfect for a 50s diner or
ice cream parlour.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the
tutorial and that it has demystified corsetry a little for you 🙂
If you haven’t already seen some of Scarlett’s patterns then be ready to swoon! Here are my three favourite!