I’ve really gone of the sewing deep end, because I am about to post a picture of my underwear on the internet. Yes, you will be spared pictures of me modeling said underwear, because some things can be taken too far.
I love the undergarment sewing trend that has taken the world by storm. I cannot wait to join the ranks of those who make every stitch of clothing that they wear, but I know these next few months should be… interesting… size and shape-wise. So I thought it would be fun to dip toes in the lingerie-sewing waters with something a bit more practical.
These three nursing sleep bras are based on one I bought from a Big Name Maternity Wear Store. I like this style during that first very wet week or so of nursing, and for night-time wear. However, I loathe shopping at that maternity store. LOATHE!!!!!!!!! I don’t know what I dislike the most their ridiculously un-inclusive size ranges, or their pushy sales people that insist on entering your due date and personal information into their computer (information which they turn around and sell to other companies), or the high-way robbery prices for shoddily-made garments, or their stingy return policy? sigh. Can you tell how much I hate them? ugh. I do. Anywho.
When I looked at my original sleep bras, I realized just how doable they would be to replicate and so I did! And I improved on the originals by making them out of the leftover Laguna Jersey from my maternity tank project. It makes me ridiculously happy to have such prettily-colored sleep bras.
The only trick to the project is to know how to apply the lingerie elastic, which isn’t as difficult as you would think, and it can be done your standard sewing machine.
To finish all the edges of this bra, I ended up using four kinds of elastic that were available locally:
- 3/8 inch stretch lace elastic for the cross-front neckline edges
- 3/4 inch plush-back elastic for the bottom band
- 3/8 inch lingerie elastic for back neckline edge
- 1/2 inch lingerie elastic for the armholes
After I traced a pattern from the original bra, I added hem allowances to each of these edges that equal the width of the elastic to be attached.
What length of elastic to use? I used an 85% ration of elastic to edge length. (Except for the bottom band, for that I chose a length based on my own comfort.)
How To Sew A Lingerie Elastic Edge
To sew the elastic on to the undergarment…
- Use a “Stretch Needle” and a “3-Step Zig-Zag” stitch with a coordinating all-purpose thread.
- Lay the elastic on the right side of the undergarment along the edge of your garment, with the side of the elastic that will be facing your body facing up, and the decorative edge pointing away from the hem allowance.
(lingerie elastic with pico edge)
If the elastic has a decorative edge that is meant to “peek” out beyond the garment hem, use a hem allowance that is smaller than the width of the elastic. For example, the stretch lace elastic used on the neckline of this bra is 3/8 inch wide. I wanted the lace edge to peak out by 1/8 inch so I only used a 1/4 inch hem allowance along that edge.
(stretch lace elastic)
- Stretch the elastic to fit, and sew the elastic to the garment edge with the 3-step zig-zag stitch. Line up the stitches so that the left-most step in the zig-zag should land right on the hem line. (i.e. on a 1/4 inch hem the left-most stitch step should be 1/4 inch from the edge)
- Fold the elastic to the wrong side along the garment along the hem line.
- Sew along the fold with a 3-step zig-zag, stretching the elastic smooth while sewing. Again, the left-most stitch step should land the same distance from the edge as the hem allowance. This encloses the hem allowance underneath the elastic.
And the edge is finished! Easy, eh?
Order of Construction
For future reference, this was the construction order I used:
- Sew stretch lace to front neckline edges
- Sew lingerie elastic to back neckline edges
- Sew shoulder seams and side seams
- Sew lingerie elastic to the armholes
- Sew plush-back elastic to bottom edge
This was such a satisfying project, I do hope I can find a good daytime nursing bra pattern soon!
Have you tried any lingerie sewing yet?