I’ve just “finished” this bra and panties an hour ago and am so exited about it, I wanted to share it ASAP! The bra is missing it’s underwire because I had to order the right size so it’s 99% done. But that won’t stop me,I just love it!
Me and sewing lingerie
Sewing lingerie isn’t something that I do often and I wouldn’t call myself an expert. I see myself als an experienced clothing sewer, but a beginner when it comes to lingerie. To give myself a kickstart in lingerie I’ve followed a bra sewing course last fall. I learned what I need to sew a bra and how it basically works. It’s very different from sewing clothes!
Since the course I wan’t that exited to sew more lingerie, it’s fiddly and I just prefer sewing dresses and such. But there was one thing I really wanted to make because I really want to wear it, and that’s a strapless long-line bra.
I bought a vintage strapless long-line bra in a vintage shop in Londen years ago. But it’s really not my cup-size and therefore doesn’t work for me. There are bra’s like this on sale but they are rather expensive because I would have to import one from the USA or order one from a bridal-lingerie company locally and those are not the cheapest stores in general.
So, making one myself seemed like a good option. A friend pointed me to the Esplanade bra from Orange Lingerie a while ago and it always stuck in my head as something I would like to make (and wear!) and now having the skills, I just went for it.
Finding the right materials
My first step was sourcing materials. I found this quite difficult for two reasons:
1: the pattern is in English and material names don’t always translate that well.
2: good bra materials are hard to find around here.
For the main cup material the pattern references to “tricot”. In the Netherlands we know “tricot” as being t-shirt like material. Not really bra material. So I went with lycra instead since that is what I was used to from my course.
For sourcing the materials I know a few local webshops that have materials but everybody seems to have different things, calling them different things, not having the colour you want… it’s a puzzle. In the end I ordered the underwire, boning, elastic, lace and padding online. The lycra, mesh and closure were from a local fabric store.
Finding the right size
Up next was figuring out what size to make my bra. The pattern suggests two things: measuring yourself and use their method in picking a size or start with your RTW bra size. There was a big difference in this! My RTW size is a 38D, my measured size is a 42B. But, it does kinda make sense since these are considered “sister sizes”. I started in the middle of these sizes with a muslin cup of the 38C and found it to big on me. Also measuring the band I thought it would be a bit tight on me. Next I made a muslin cup of the 40B and I liked that a lot better. 40 is also the biggest band-size on the pattern so I went with this and figured if the band is to tight I would have plenty of fabric to make a new bigger band.
Sewing the Esplanade bra
Making the bra itself was pretty straight forward. I had never worked with padding before but it was super easy. The cup construction was the same as I did before. Figuring the lace-placement and cutting this was the only tricky thing but I think it went well.
I’m quite pleased with the materials I’ve used. I used the lycra with a lace overlay for the cups with padding underneath. Lycra with tule underlay (so it doesn’t stretch) for the bridge, and single lycra for the sides.
The only thing I would really like to be different on the next one is the powermesh. The mesh that I used is very stretchy and I don’t feel it pulls the bra tight enough around the back. I also feel the bra gapes a bit on the upper back, maybe because of the mesh not being strong enough or it’s simply a to big on the pattern. I’ll have to see how it goes when wearing the bra and if I need to it’s easy to fix on a next version.
To finish the bra and tie in the lace I used yellow- and orange shades of elastic, making it less “bridal” and more “spring”.
Overall, I can say this bra was highly enjoyable to make! It’s also super quick and can be done in a day or weekend.
To finish it all off, I’ve made matching high waist panties using the leftover materials. I even managed to use the lace remnants as an overlay on the mesh side-panels. The panties are the “Ava high waist panties” form ohhh lulu. I highly recommend this pattern! It’s super easy and quick to sew and even my big but fits in the biggest size 😉
And up next? Well, I will order the right under wire to be able to completely finish the bra. Then I will wear it a few times to see what kind of adjustments I want/need for a next version. I want to make a black or dark colored one next.
Do you make your own lingerie? Do you have tips on materials and such?