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Frequently Asked Questions

I always thought FAQ pages were pretty dorky. But if you have a blog for any length of time, the same questions come up. These are some I get in email or comments–please have a look and see if yours is answered!

Note: If you need help with purchasing, using or downloading one of my patterns, please visit my separate pattern help page.

Tools & Materials

Can you recommend a machine for sewing lingerie?

I wrote a post to answer this very question!

But my short answer is: You don’t need a special machine to make lingerie! A simple home machine that has zig-zag stitches will do.

Where do you buy your lingerie materials?

I’m a big fan of Etsy. There are now many Etsy shops catering to lingerie and bra-making; I can hardly keep up!

For suggestions on where to shop for lingerie supplies, visit my Lingerie Resources page.

I live in the sticks and can’t find any bra fabrics here. Can you help?

Bra supplies are specialty materials. The elastics, linings and better bra fabrics are not usually materials you can find in a local fabric shop (unless you live in New York or other manufacturing city!). Look online for  specialty shops catering to swim or lingerie materials.

Where can I buy the fabric you used in a bra?

I always include details of where I buy materials at the bottom of every project post. If the details are not in there, I can’t remember where I bought it OR the shop has sold out.

Hiring Me, Marketing, Sponsorships

Can you draft patterns or samples for me?

Unfortunately, I am not available for hire for freelance patternmaking, design or sewing services.

Would you write about or review my product?

No, I only review things that I discover on my own and also which I have purchased at full price with my own money. This allows me to write unbiased opinions.

Will you give me some advice on starting a lingerie or fashion business?

Sorry, no. I’m not the best person to ask, and I mean that sincerely. I don’t work in the fashion industry and I’m not a consultant. Try Makers Row, a great site for entrepreneurs.

Patternmaking and Bra Making Questions

Can you recommend a patternmaking book?

For women’s clothing, these are a few of my favorites:

Where can I learn how to draft a bra (or other lingerie)?

I am working on a list of bra-specific drafting resources, but in the meantime you can read my review of bra sewing books. Some of these books have drafting in them.

Where did you learn patternmaking?

I’ve been learning and practicing patternmaking since the early 2000s. I took a couple of courses but have learned a lot from books and experimenting on my own. I love trying different methods and even inventing my own. For bra patternmaking, for example, I developed my own methods. It is a skill and craft I enjoy refining!

How do you draft patterns? By hand or digitally?

I wrote a post about this and a followup up post here. The short answer is: I draft patterns using Adobe Illustrator.

I don’t like underwires. Do I have to use them or can you recommend a pattern for me?

While I can’t help you find a pattern (see pattern questions below), of course I love and recommend my own soft bra pattern, The Watson!

That said, any bra pattern can be made without underwires. Many wireless bra designs in RTW are designed exactly like a wired pattern so there’s nothing special about them. All you need to do is make the pattern and leave out the step where you insert the wires.

When doing this, I recommend using the wire channeling (casing) to help stabilize the cup seam and add a bit of support. Keep in mind that bras without wires will not fit and support the same way as they do when a wire is inserted.

Help Me Find a Pattern

I loved a bra on your blog. Can I buy a pattern for it?

Here are the patterns I offer for sale.

If I used a pattern that can be purchased, it will be noted on that page. Otherwise, it was a custom design.

Will you offer a pattern for a plunge/demi/single-dart/strapless (or other design) bra?

I’m not sure. 🙂 While I enjoy patternmaking and publishing immensely, designing patterns is only a small part of my work. I’m not primarily a pattern business–I’m an artist who likes to publish a great pattern now and then!

I can’t find a bra pattern in my size. Can you help?

My Harriet pattern includes a fairly large size range, from 28A-H up to 42A-H.

Unfortunately, I don’t know all the size ranges that exist in patterns and can’t help with finding sizes in patterns other than my own.

Some tips:

If the size you are looking for doesn’t exist in any pattern, you may find a sister size.

You may also want to look into custom drafting your own bra from your measurements. It’s very rewarding and you will learn a lot about how you want bras to fit without a pre-drafted size getting in the way. I’m a big fan of custom drafting!

I’m looking for a demi bra pattern. Do they exist?

I have a funny answer to that. “Demi” is a really loose designer-y term and means a lot of things to different people. If you are looking to create a bra with a shorter neckline, this is an easy alteration to any pattern. My article on Bra Styles demonstrates how different necklines create different looks.