Bare Essentials: Underwear Construction

If anybody is interested in making their own underwear, can I suggest the book ‘Bare Essentials: Underwear – Construction and Pattern Cutting for Lingerie Design’. It’s really straightforward and simple to use.

It’s a great little book that teaches you about stretch fabrics and elastics, guides you through construction, pattern manipulation and pattern cutting. The author has also written a book on bra construction which I have but have yet to try out but hopefully I have some free time soon to start trying that out.

There are a couple of patterns in the back of the book and it explains how you can alter them to make knickers like these stretch lace boy shorts. (The patterns in the back of the book range from an extra small to an extra large which are a US sized 0 to 18 and UK sized 4 to 22.) And the book is separated into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced chapters; so there’s something for everyone.

I think I managed to make these within an hour or so! They’re super quick and comfy. I picked up the stretch lace on eBay a few years ago for a couple of pounds I think. After I bought it, I had no idea what to make with it, but it’s perfect for knickers!

Close up of the lace:

The Lilac and Lace Bra…

Anybody bored of bras yet? No? Good, then I will begin, here’s my latest offering. I wanted to make something that would match the Lilac lingerie collection that I made for my recent evening course. I still have some silk and lace left over, so I made up another Balconette bra. I’ve not been using any commercially available patterns for the bras I’ve made recently, instead I have been using the patterns that my teacher gave me and used for her collections when she was a lingerie designer. The only problem with that is this a 36C, so at some point I’m going to have to work out how to grade bra patterns and make my own custom fit pattern.

Of the three bras I’ve made recently, this is definitely my favourite.

Lilac Silk Satin (Fabrics Galore) and Black Chantilly Lace (Macculloch & Wallis).

Black Picot edge elastic and Black powernet. Adjustable and removable straps.

Matching Rouleau bow trim

Sultry Suspenders…

Following on from the Bras, here are the suspenders that I made! As I don’t have a mannequin, I can’t really display them at their best. Suspenders really aren’t as difficult as you think they would be!!

Black Lace from Paris but I’ve seen this lace in many places. It must be pretty common. Blue Sandblasted Silk from Fabrics Galore.

Black Silk from eBay a couple of years ago. It’s Japanese kimono silk that has a small ripple pattern in it occasionally. Wouldn’t use it again as it is too thick and too tightly woven to use for suspenders. Black silk satin straps (from my teacher), I used the crepe side of the satin to match the matt of the main fabric.

A close up of the front, I’m using the same French lace here too.

Beautiful Bras….

I was going to put up a photo of myself wearing one of these bras as it’s difficult to see them fully without being on a mannequin or on a human body – But as my dad reads this blog sometimes, I thought that might be a little bit weird… And I’m not sure I really want the world to see my bust! So, you will have to make do with seeing my bras posed artfully on a cushion instead.

I’ve been learning how to make structured bras. The first one is a simple darted bra and the second is a Balconette. They are both too small for me because I was using my teacher’s patterns and her patterns only go up to a 36 C or D.




The fabric is a silk/cotton blend that my teacher used in her range when had her own lingerie label. The cotton lace is also hers.


Inside the bra: A French dart and the underwire casing.
The Balconette Bra


Fabric and Lace are from The Sewing Chest  – A great place online to get bra making supplies. This is the Bra Refill kit – Paris – Lava.


And a shot of the inside…


The Lingerie Collective…

Ok, we’re not really the Lingerie Collective  (I wish though!!). If you’ve not heard of them, go check them out! They’re a collective of the most exciting lingerie designers in the UK.

This Thursday saw the end of my lingerie evening class and our fabulous collections being displayed to our family and friends. I think a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into each of our individual collections and I can certainly vouch that my fingers were like pin cushion by the end and whilst I didn’t cry, I certainly swore A LOT!

Thankfully all my hard work has paid off and I was awarded a distinction for my coursework! That really means a lot to me. I was also extremely lucky to have my parents and one of my friends see my work. It was lovely to finally be able to show everybody what I have been talking about for the past nine months.

Here are the pictures of my collection:

My Liz Taylor slip

My camisole (and briefs – which I’m afraid you can’t really see…)

I Need Your Help!

I’m doing a little bit of research for my lingerie course and would love your help!

I’ve come up with a little survey (for women) that should take less than 5 minutes of your precious time!



Update: I should also mention that the survey is completely anonymous and for my personal research only (not commercial).