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Stretch fabric can be so versatile: from evening wear to lingerie it only takes a few steps. And isn't it fun when what you are wearing something matching under? If you like sewing stretch fabrics like I do, you'll probably end up having lots of little scraps of fabric. Amazing things can be done with them and lingerie is just the right project.
Step 1: Materials and Tools Needed
You will need to have a sewing machine that can do at least a zigzag stitch; an overlock machine or serger is the best for sewing stretch fabrics with no worries of fraying and over-stretching.
Notions like pretty elastics are a must for such a project.
A ball point machine needle is helpful. Make sure you are using a thing needle and do a test seam first. With the test seam, look closely for fraying. Ball point needles are designed for knits and stretch fabrics like Lycra and cotton jersey. They have a rounded point rather than a sharp point that helps push in between the fabric yarns, rather than cutting through the yarns. This needle comes in sizes 9 to 16 and the larger the needle size, the more "rounded" the needle point is. Thinner needles do great on thinner fabrics.
I have a stash of different scalloped elastics in many colors.
I used black and lilac colors for this project, to bring out the colors in the fabric.
If your elastic does not match exactly, try finding a contrasting solid color, like black trim of a red fabric.
The clear elastic is also a good choice for non bulky seams.
Scissors, pins, pencil and paper, sewing thread...you get the point.
Step 2: Create Pattern
I have to say I have studied the store bought lingerie items closely before venturing onto this path. I looked at details like how the seams were made, identifying exactly what stitches are used, while trying to see in what order those seams can be made. I was inspired for this project by a store bought bra I really like. So I pictured everything in my mind first and drafted out the pattern myself, with the example bra next to me.
Create your pattern based on your favorite bra and cut out your fabric.
Although lace was the first option for bra, I decided to go with a stretch sheer tulle fabric. The fabric was leftover from sewing a cocktail top and skirt. After carefully placing the pattern over the fabric, in respect to the grain line, marking and sewing the center pleats, the next step is to attach the elastic.
Step 3: Attaching Elastic
The elastic needs to be a little shorter then the actual fabric, so that it gathers the fabric. Place the elastic facing down over the right side of the fabric, so that the edges are aligned. Using an overlock stitch (or zigzag), sew over the elastic tape. The stitch should be close to the scalloped edge, but do not step over it. The elastic tape needs to be stretched during sewing, this way the fabric and the elastic will become the same length. The elastic will loosen a little after it is seamed this is why it needs to be just a little shorter from the beginning. In the following picture you a seam in progress and on the other side a seam that is ready for the next step.
Step 4: Topstictch the Elastic
Next, turn the elastic tape toward the wrong side of the fabric and use a zigzag stitch to sew from the right side of the fabric, over the tape again. This will flatten the seam.
The multi zigzag stitch is my first choice for topstitching over flat elastic tape. Other decorative stitches or a simple zigzag will do just as well (just make it wide enough to step on the width of the tape).
The elastic tape can act as bra straps. These can be made by you or bought. Your imagination can run free there are so many choices. Make them out of bias tape of the same fabric, with elastic inside, make the adjustable. On the bra cup, at the shoulder end, add a round plastic loop. Pass the strap through the loop. One end of the strap is sewn in the back of the bra, at approximately 10cm from the underarm. A rectangle sliding plastic is inserted into the strap. The other end passes through the loop, then through the sliding plastic, and is sewn. Add beads to the straps or sequins for a little sparkle. Clear bra straps can be made from clear elastic tape.
Step 5: Closing the Bra
This simple bra will be very comfortable. It is suited for smaller cup sizes because it has no under-wires. The support under the bra is given by a wider stronger elastic tape, wrapped in the same fabric.
The bra can be closed with a bra extender. The extender can be bought and has attaching instructions. It's pretty easy, a zigzag stitch again, strongly reinforced will keep it in place.
Step 6: Thongs
The thongs are simple triangles: a bigger one in front and a small one in the back.
Cut out a little soft cotton jersey for underlining. Serge over the base of the triangle.
Place the front piece wrong side facing down.
Place the back piece over with the tips of the triangles aligned, rights sides facing.
Place the underlining over, align the tips again, wrong side facing up.
Stitch through all 3 layers, at a little distance from the tip of the triangles, so that you create a trapezoid shape.
Turn the underlining towards the front. This will hide the seam under.
Stitch the lateral sides of the front and underlining together to keep them in place when sewing the elastic trim.
Trim the lateral edges with elastic tape, like described for the bra.
Measure another piece of elastic tape so that it fits comfortably just below the waist, and can go over your hips when stretched.
Sew the edges of it to create a round circle.
Place that seam in the middle of the back triangle.
Fold it in two, and pin in place the middle of the fold onto the center front.
Sew the tape just like we did so far, on the top edges of the triangles.
Place ribbon flowers on the corners of the triangles in front.
Ready to sew your?