Hello everyone and welcome to the Watson Sew Along!
I’m excited to get started, and today we’re going to jump in with a little preparation and gather up our supplies.
Find Your Size
First things first… If you haven’t done so yet, you’ll want to measure yourself and find your size using the suggestions in the pattern. If you haven’t measured yourself in a while, it’s worthwhile to re-take your measurements.
Quick measurement tip: when taking the measurement under your bust, exhale all the way and take a very close fitting tape measurement. This is how I now measure others for their bands and I tend to get a better fit this way. For example, when I fully inhale and measure, my underbust is 30″. But when I exhale all the way, I measure about 28”. I use the smaller measurement to determine my band size.
Print & Assemble Your Pattern
For the bra pattern, you’ll only need 4 or 5 pages. Don’t forget to check the Bra Printing Guide so you know which pages to print off for your size. Most of the bra pattern pieces fit entirely on one page but in some of the larger sizes, you’ll need to tape two pieces together using the page notches as a guide.
Gather Fabric and Notions
I’m going to be making a cream-colored set with black trim. Very ooh la la, and hopefully easy to photograph!
Before every lingerie project I print out a checklist and collect everything together in a little baggie as I go. It makes gathering all the bits and bobs so much easier.
- cup and cradle fabric*
- cradle lining or interfacing
- band fabric (if different from your cup fabric)
- strap elastic
- 1/2” plush back elastic
- 1/4” plush back elastic
- 1/2” rings and sliders
- hook & eye (I recommend a 3-row for the longline version)
- main bikini fabric
- 1/4″ lingerie elastic
Note on elastic widths: The pattern can be easily adjusted for wider elastics if you prefer them. If you wish to use a wider strap elastic, make sure to buy your rings and sliders in the same width as your strap.
*For the scalloped lace variation of the bra, you’ll need:
- at least 1 yard/meter of stretch lace
- 1/2 yard or meter of narrow clear elastic to stabilize the edge of the lace scallops
When buying stretch lace, make sure the trim is at least 6 1/2″ wide. The cups will be laid out a bit like this:
And if you want to use lace in the longline version, you’ll need to measure across the widest part of the cradle so that you get a wide enough lace:
Tools & Supplies
Some of these tools are completely optional but they are extremely helpful in lingerie making. Be sure you have a few good marking tools, machine needles, and thread!
- Tailor’s chalk or chalk wheel – for tracing around patterns onto fabric
- Ball point pen – for tracing onto fabrics that don’t tend to accept chalk wheel marks. You can also use a fabric-marking pen.
- Pencil – for marking in seam lines
- C-Thru ruler – this is my preferred tool for marking in seam lines. I use several of these rulers for patternmaking; the B-50 is my favorite for bras.
- Pattern weights – for weighing patterns to fabric. (I don’t know where to buy the weights in the photo as I have had them for years, but I also use cheap washers from the hardware store.)
- Silk pins – These are inexpensive glass head pins, and they are wonderful for lingerie sewing. Fine pins won’t snag as easily on lycras, laces and delicate lingerie fabrics.
- Size 11/75 stretch needles – I buy these by the box because I use them so much in lingerie making. If you can’t find a stretch needle look for a size 11 ballpoint needle.
- Polyester thread*
- Sewing shears or rotary cutter (if you are a fan of rotary cutting)
- Embroidery or tailor point scissors – these are great for trimming seams and clipping threads.
- Serger thread* – only if you plan on serging either the bikini seams or the bra cup seams.
- Card stock – I like to print out bra patterns to card stock, which makes the patterns much easier to trace onto fabric. You can also trace the paper patterns to oak tag (manila folder paper), heavier weight drawing paper—anything that holds an edge.
- Straight stitch foot (you can see mine here) – For neat lines of topstitching and edgestitching. Your machine may call this a “patchwork foot” or “1/4 foot”.
*For extra soft seams, you may want to try a finer polyester thread or wooly nylon in your serger. See my post about these threads.
You may also want to prewash your fabrics the way you intend to wash them afterward. Many nylon-based fabrics don’t shrink at all but I’ve had a few surprises! (My first Bombshell swimsuit shrunk almost two sizes and I learned my lesson on pre-washing lycras!) For most lingerie fabrics, I handwash in cold water and hang to dry. Spandex does wear out with heat and I like my lingerie fabrics to last as long as possible.
That’s it for today! Any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments!