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Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Drafting knickers and feeling overwhelmed

So I am continuing with my summer 'learn to make lingerie' project and I am feeling pretty good about my bra block. I am about to return to it so I can start planning a nice set to really demonstrate to myself that it is truly working for me, but before I do that here is where I have got with my knickers block. It is from Kristina Shins book again. I have made some tweaks to the initial block (I used the basic brief) as I prefer a lower leg etc... but it was very easy to draft. I normally wear maxi waist height briefs. Since having an emergency C-section with my son I cannot bear to have any kind of elastic or anything rubbing on my scar. I do feel though that they are not the most flattering, so I am experimenting with midi height instead. The benefit of making them is that I can play with the tension on the elastic to strike a balance between baggy saggy pants and too tight. I'm pretty pleased with the pattern and have also been playing with different elastics and fabrics.

This close up shot of a lace pair I made last week is definitely my favourite finish yet. It is so professional looking, but not at all difficult. I didn't pull the lace trim very much as it has limited stretch and just lined the scallop edge up with the fabric edge whilst topstitching on with a zig zag stitch. I then trimmed away the excess knicker fabric close to the stitch line. So delicate!


Here is another pair of cotton lycra with the same lace trim in a different colour. I did well on an ebay purchase with a job lot of odd pieces of stretch lace. It's great, because I can play to my hearts content without the worry of having spent loads of money on something special. The cotton lycra was sent to me by a friend who saved it (and loads of other pieces of fabric) from being chucked!!!


I really love this finish. Up until now I have only used FOE (fold over elastic) to finish knickers, but this is much better. Ignore the not so neat trimming of fabric in the below pick.


As well as these I also adapted my block for woven fabrics. I basically added 8cm to the overall back width, 4cm to the overall front width, 1cm in length to the leg openings and 1cm in length to the hip. I shall try and do some visuals for a future blog post to demonstrate, but if you divide the pattern into a grid as per the aforementioned measurements and then just slash and spread to your desired width and length. You just need to compensate for the lack of stretch in the fabric (even though cut on the bias). The waistband elastic on the pair below is too loose in this pic, but I did go to the trouble of unpicking and re-stitching it after this pic was taken. Let me tell you that it was not a fun exercise!

These briefs are a close fit, but not tight. I didn't want the poufy ease that you sometimes find in woven briefs.


Next up I am just about done refining a French knicker block and also would like to draft a petticoat block. I kind of feel a bit like I'm losing focus at the moment with so many possibilities and the potential to get lost in the vastness of this area of design. I need to pull myself back and really draw a line under what I have learnt already, so I'm thinking/hoping that by designing and making a bra and briefs set as outlined at the beginning of this post will help me bring all of the skills I have learnt so far together and draw some sort of conclusion to this first part of home education. It makes sense and is how you do things in formal education. You learn something, you practice and then you demonstrate.

I am a beginner designer all over again. It's easy to see why you can spend your whole life or career specialising in one area of a subject. I obviously have many of the vital skills, but there are so many minute details that need to considered in the drafting, construction and fitting. I could spend so much time just working on my bra block. I must have made close to 20 toiles of that block alone and am certain that as I progress it will require further tweaks. Some of the toiles are teaching me about fit, but then others are teaching me about fabrics. Too stretchy, too slippery, too synthetic...it never ends!

Right enough chitter chatter and back to the blocks! Bye bye xxx