Tag Archives: sewing lingerie

Be Bashful Bikini: the début pattern from At First Blush

I have some exciting news to share with you this week: my lovely friend Kelly of Sewing Unaffiliated just released the first pattern from her new brand, At First Blush Patterns! Be Bashful is a pretty pair of bikini-style knickers and I got to sew them up in advance of release, so I wanted to share them with you today, the day Be Bashful hits the virtual shelves.

First of all let me tell you about Kelly. You can read about her in her own words, but I wanted to add a few words of my own. Kelly is everything I love about the sewing community: passionate, generous, kind, and talented. She left a career working in the fashion industry to pursue her dreams, and for as long as I’ve known her she has been learning pattern drafting with a focus on lingerie and activewear. I first “met” Kelly a few days after I had opened my Instagram account last year. We were both doing the “Sew April” challenge and we started commenting on each other’s posts. It was the first proper connection I made, and has evolved over the months outside of Instagram and blogs. I’m proud to call Kelly my friend, and I’m thrilled to be able to share my Be Bashful Bikini with you today:

Be Bashful Bikini by At First Blush Patterns

It’s always a bit scary when a friend or family member wants your honest opinion on something they’ve done that’s important to them. What if you don’t like it? How do you tell them? Fortunately that wasn’t an issue here. I knew Kelly’s work would be careful and professional because I know how hard she’s been working towards this. But there was one big thing I was crossing my fingers for when I opened the instruction file: I hoped that the gusset would have a clean finish, because that’s one of things I look for in a knickers pattern. I held my breath, read the instructions, and there it was: a clean gusset finish. Hurrah!!

I love the branding Kelly has chosen: it’s clear she’s thought about what she wants her new company to represent. It’s feminine and understated, as you can tell from the name she chose for her brand and for her first pattern.

Subtle pinks and greys make up Kelly’s chosen palette. Image taken from https://sewingunaffiliated.com/

The construction of Be Bashful is straightforward: first you attach the front and back pieces to the gusset and gusset lining, so that when you lay your panties out flat, they look like this:

Excuse the lighting: I started making these in the evening, so the photos were taken in artificial light!

Next you sew the side seams and then cut your three lengths of elastic (which are the circumference of the opening minus 2 inches), sew the ends of the elastic together to make a circle, then attach the elastic circles to the waist and leg openings.

Be Bashful before elastic

The instructions are clear and concise, and there was no difficulty at all in the method. The elastic is evenly attached, and cinches the pattern pieces in to make a snug-fitting bikini.

I started out with the waistband, and then once I’d sewn the elastic on, I realised that having carefully put a burgundy thread in my top reel and a white thread in my bobbin to match the fabric and lace respectively, I’d got them the wrong way round and my burgundy stitching would be visible on the lace inside. Not that it matters, it’s just that I’d gone to all that trouble only to get it the wrong way round! Plus there’s a bit on the top right where the stitching is uneven. That was when I knew it was time to call it a night and go to bed…

Wrong colour thread! Wonky stitches! Go to bed!!

So the next day I attached the elastic to the leg openings, topstitched my elastic down, and did the final finishings to the garment.

Finished!

It looks pretty, right? But I bet you want to know whether it’s comfy too… so I’m happy to confirm that it is! As you can tell from the pictures, it’s a high-leg pattern with a low rise, and the butt coverage is enough to stop it from (how can I say this politely?) verging into wedgie territory (there’s just no nice way to say that but you need to know it, right?!)

I made my Be Bashful in a cotton jersey, but there are plenty of other recommended fabrics (just make sure that if you use a synthetic fabric, you do the gusset lining in cotton or other breathable jersey).

To find out more about Be Bashful you can read the launch post, which contains instructions on how to download the pattern. So join me in wishing Kelly every success in her new adventure: Kelly, I’m so happy and excited for you, and I hope you will have the success you so richly deserve.

Image taken from https://sewingunaffiliated.com/

Click image to go straight to Kelly’s online store

Sewalong: The Florence bra (Seamwork magazine)

Back in April, my wonderful sewing friend Kelly and I were chatting on an Instagram thread about sewing underwear. We had both thought about making our own bras, and we both had the Seamwork Florence pattern, but we’d never got round to doing it. So we decided to do it together, and give each other the push we needed to get on with it! It has been so much fun sewing a bra AND doing it with Kelly. You know how you meet someone on social media and wish you knew them in real life? That’s me with Kelly. She’s not only talented and creative, but also a truly lovely and generous person. We chose the start of June as our bra sewalong time, although we postponed by a couple of weeks so that Kelly’s supplies could arrive before we started. Once they arrived, we decided to do set stages each day, and send each other pictures of each completed stage so that despite the time zone difference we could still feel like we were doing it together.

 

In my head I was going to go for a nice classic bra, but somehow along with my white stretch lace I ended up ordering neon pink straps and elastic. So obviously the only thing to do for the contrast cup sections was go for a bright green floral. I did check on Instagram whether I needed to dial back the crazy, but the lovely community of IG sewists told me to go for it… so here is the story of the brightest bra I’ve ever owned!

 

It was easy to print and stick together the pattern, as there were so few pieces and they were small. I chose an XS as I am not well endowed, and even the measurements for the XS were a little large for me! The only issue with the pattern was a slightly wonky curve on the side cup. I checked all the other sizes and there was no wobble on those, so I guessed it was an accident and re-drew the curve, which made it fit perfectly with the corresponding front cup piece.

 

This was my first time making bra straps, and it was fun! The hardest part was just teasing the plush elastic back through the slider, so you can see that the sewing itself was pretty straightforward! The cups also went together easily. The pattern calls for a zigzag or a twin needle topstitch on the side cup, and I went for a zigzag as this is the stitch I see on my RTW bras.

 

The trickiest part was sewing the cups to the straps. I followed the instructions (right sides together, then flip the elastic to the back), but because of the angle of the cup, there was an ugly excess of the top point of the cup visible on the right side of the strap. I unpicked and tucked the top point under:

 

Then I got to use the triple-point zigzag stitch on my machine for the first time! (I’m not the only one who gets excited about using a new stitch, right?!) Because my side cup and my cup front were made from different colour fabrics, I did each bit separately with matching thread. It was worth that extra effort as the stitching blends really well into the bra. BUT… when I attached the cups to the bra, things started going less well.

 

Firstly, you sew each cup in from the side towards the middle, but there were no instructions for making that centre seam look neat when they meet in the middle. I did some careful pinning and got a centre point, which I then stitched in place with a bar tack so the seam didn’t peep out over my (admittedly not terribly impressive) cleavage. I also decided to topstitch the seams where the cups meet the bra, so that they too would stay in place.

 

Then the centre back seam is sewn (again, I topstitched to avoid bits of seam peeking out) and the straps are attached to the back of the bra. At this point I tried the bra on, and it wasn’t a happy moment. The straps flipped out at the sides, and the fit didn’t seem great. After long perusals and a chat online with Kelly, I concluded the cup fit in itself was fine, but it’s that centre meeting point that was pulling the cups in an odd way. I couldn’t fix that, but I could fix the straps with another line of topstitching. I compared with my RTW bras and found that the straps on those were only attached at the top of the cup – so I think it’s the fact of attaching a strap along the curved angle of a cup and then wanting it to sit flat that’s the problem. I don’t know if this would be an issue for larger cup sizes as you’d have more… er… filling out the bra and pushing against the straps to make them sit nicely. But for me and my XS cups… there wasn’t much my body could do to help it along!

The final stage was to sew the elastic along the bottom, and that did help cinch things in a bit. I can’t deny it’s a comfy bra, and I do like it but I just don’t love it. I had to do a lot of extra work to make it look as nice as it does, which takes it well beyond the quick sew it’s promoted as. I learnt a lot though, and I have another bra pattern waiting in the wings that I may try next…

This sewalong was so much fun! If you haven’t already read Kelly’s post, you can find it here, and marvel at her beautiful bra!