How to sew a high waisted brief

If you have been following the 'Creating SS15 collection' then this is one of the collection pieces being made. We have gone from mood boards, sketches, working drawings and patterns, Now the pieces of fabric have been cut and sewn. I have sewn the brief on a standard sewing machine - just because it's what most people will have to start out.

 All the components and fabric cut ready to go.

All the components and fabric cut ready to go.

A reminder of the shape of the brief:

The legs and waist will have fold over elastic, which is as it sounds, elastic that fold over the front of the fabric and back, it's great for creating a clean finish. Also as I am only using a sewing machine and not an overlocker, I have to think about the internal seams. Traditionally french seams are used on delicate fabric to enclose your raw edge. If you are planning to use a french seam remember to add the seam allowance into the pattern. As I am wanting to create a control brief look, I'm going to make the seams a detail, so have bias cut binding in which I am going to enclose the seam, then turn to the side and sew down so it looks like the seam has been taped.

To begin with I always create the front panel, if you always follow a structure of your sewing it's easier to keep track if you have many pieces.

sewing the side seams
 SEWING THE BINDING TO ENCLOSE THE SEAM

SEWING THE BINDING TO ENCLOSE THE SEAM

Once the side seams are attached, next the gusset is sewn on. If you're making your briefs on a domestic sewing machine only and no overlocker, then have the  gusset in two pieces the outer gusset which is part of the front and the inner gusset which is the gusset part, this means that you can hide, both the front and back seam.

Shown in the picture, the top layer of fabric is the front of the brief, the second layer is the back of the brief, and the bottom is the gusset.

 SEWING THE GUSSET

SEWING THE GUSSET

To create the hidden gusset seam, you need to twist the inner gusset and sew to the back gusset, so when straightened the gusset lies flat and seam is hidden.

Next sew the back side seams like the front and then the whole brief is complete. I usually sew the full brief first then apply the elastics and over lap the ends and then sew down the overlap of the elastic to secure. 

The elastic to the legs and waist are attached by x/stitch, starting at the back seam. See finished brief below.

 FINAL FRONT OF HIGH WAIST BRIEF

FINAL FRONT OF HIGH WAIST BRIEF

WHAT I WOULD CHANGE

Having sketched out the pattern freehand, there are usually alterations to make after the first toile. What i would change for the next fit and toile, would be lighter elastic, the elastic was too strong for the legs, you can see this on the back brief picture just up from the gusset, as they are not lying completely flat. Also because the elastic is quite heavy you can see the join. 

Having tried them on, I would take 3 cm off the back side panel and add it to the back centre panel. This will allow for a better stretch around the body, and will have better hanger appeal, as the front seam will then be in line with the back seam.

Making Lingerie the vintage way

There's something romantic about sewing your own lingerie using a vintage lingerie pattern. Though those who haven't much sewing experience behind them, the patterns from the 50s through to the 70s can be quite daunting, as the patterns are aimed for people to have a bit of knowledge and skill, as women sewed more of their own clothes than they do now. 

For those wanting to start to make their own bloomers Coletterie.com has bountiful ideas and tips on sewing have a free down loadable mini bloomers pattern.

If you simply can't wait to make your own then check out these beautiful pieces.

DITA VON TEESE

How to make a high waisted 'brief' pattern

Taking the design from the trend influence, a high waisted panel brief, I drafted out a rough pattern. I always start with the front then move onto the back patterns. Writing roughly the information on the pattern. Information such as how many to cut, the stretch, the piece of the pattern, seam allowance and notches. Even though in many cases the information is the same from pattern to pattern, often you come back to them and can wonder what you were thinking so it's best to write, even roughly, all the information.

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By putting the centre back and centre front straight, you can see the natural curve of the leg and dart shapes that are at the waist. The pattern was drafted out then seam allowance added, then each piece was lain with the seam allowance over lapping to ensure the curves and lengths of the seams were correct.

To make a pattern from scratch, ensure that the front pattern and back measure across the waist the same, so once the brief is made up the side seam sits on the side and doesn't pull to the front or back. You can see on my back pattern at the side that i've had to add to the see as it fell short of the front. Also when I put the side back panel to the back main panel, you can see that the back leg needed to be filled in.

Lying the pattern flat, you can see the natural curve of the waist. By looking at the pattern both ways you can see just by looking at it if there are any glaring problems before you cut any fabrics out. 



Dear Kate.... We admire Amelia Earhart too...

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When designers mix great designs with function, they immediately have my attention. The Dear Kate brand, caught my attention early this year, and so in awe I was about the brand I ended up Skyping Julie Sygiel (the founder behind the brand). 

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For those who don't know much about the brand, Dear Kate have mixed styling with technology and created lingerie which are leak resistant to save you from those embarrassing moments that may occur in your life at some point. Last week they added to their brand and launched a new collection "The Amelia" which is low rise and is made from silky-soft black microfiber and sumptuous floral lace.

Will the diamanté T-bar thong re-appear?

Looking at the bow back tie of Sonata Lingerie,  takes me back to when Damaris first brought her collection out of 'bum cleavage' briefs. Low cut briefs with a big tie at the top at the back so you could see your bum cleavage.

 SONATA LINGERIE

SONATA LINGERIE

I was designing for the high streets at the time they came out, but that didn't stop me mocking up a pair personally to see how they would wear. Though think, black fish net fabric at the back and red non stretch satin at the front (forgive me it was the early Noughties).  

So I looked back through my portfolio to see what I was designing, and for 'Next' it was the diamanté T-bar thong. Each design got more elaborate and we designed, made and shipped that many, that we wondered when the trend would end. But like all trends it eventually does. So the question I suppose is, do you think the trend will ever return to the high street?

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"You change your underwear, together we change the world"

Underwear companies that blend great designs and sustainability with social and environmental causes always catch my eye. And PACT underwear has done just that. Not only have they produced eye catching designs but they are made from organic cotton and use ethical manufacturing.
Producing men's, women's and babies underwear in plains and prints, there is a choice for everyone.

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"Good design for good people" 

His and her underwear goes a step further.

There are times when lingerie/underwear brands promote their brand by working towards a good charity cause, donating proceeds from the sales of their garments. Heavily featured in lingerie brands is breast cancer. Under wear brand BJÖRN BORG is collaborating with MTV Staying Alive Foundation to fight against HIV.

The underwear (mens and womens) has a limited edition elastic waistband with the words "GET IT ON". What caught my eye was their tandem underwear, not only used at a promotion piece but you can actually buy it. 

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My mind boggles with how the fits went for this product! 




SS15 collection: working out fabric amounts

If I was designing the SS15 collection for my own label, I would have taken a different approach and sourced the fabrics first. Buying the amount which I know would make up a certain number, then design from there. And because it's only in the last year that I have learnt Illustrator I tend to design around fabrics then sketch out a few ideas.

As I am designing one off pieces I have gone about it the other way, I roughly know from my sketches last time, the shapes I want to work with, and left it it quite open when it comes to fabrics. But as I am only making one off pieces to be sure I don't end up buying my body weight in fabrics and trims (something that often occurs when I enter a fabric shop), I have finalised my collection (in very rough drawings) and worked out a guide for my shopping list for the four samples that I intend to make-up.

Shopping List

Hooks and Eyes (32mm) x 4, Wide strapping x 1m, Wide Elastic x 1m, No edge 3-step elastic x 2m, Stabiliser x 1/2m, Rings and slides x2 (gold) x2 (blk), Power-net (blk) x2, Mesh (blk) x 2m, Wire casing (blk) 2m, Strapping 3 1/2m, Wires x4, F/O elastic 3 1/2m, Single edge khola x 3m, Edge 3-step elastic x2 1/2m, Gusset lining (blk) x1/2m, Cotton jersey (95/5 or 97/3) x 1m over two colours, All over lace (blk) x 1m, Rose colour power-net x 1/2m, 3mm long tailed bows x 9.

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Next is the buying of the fabrics and drawing the images up in Illustrator. 

It's not Lingerie - but you have to start somewhere...

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Even though I have been designing Lingerie for over thirteen years, I have never designed on CAD, i've used photoshop (self taught) when I had my own brand, but it was Illustrator that I yearned to learn. Though I can produce a pretty accurate first pattern from a drawing, watching the graphics team in previous jobs transform my hand drawing into artwork I wanted to do the same.

So this week gone, I booked myself on an Illustrator course at London college of Fashion and fell in love.

Proving that no matter how good you are in one area of your expertise it's never too late to learn more. So the week ended with with drawing a trainer - not quite lingerie but now I have the skills I can now start to produce artwork.

 

Art deco lingerie

Art Deco - an eclectic style that combines traditional craft motifs with machine age imagery and materials. Often characterised by rich colours, bold geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation.    With 1920s inspired lingerie still ever present it seems that pieces now echo the Art Deco style. However like all trends that come through it may be worth remembering the brands that had this style all along. Some of these collections are five years old.

 MADAME V

MADAME V

 AYTEN GASSON

AYTEN GASSON

 STRUMPET AND PINK

STRUMPET AND PINK

 ELL AND CEE

ELL AND CEE

 DIETRICH

DIETRICH

Hand-made business cards

As the book "How to become a Lingerie Designer" is about learning the lingerie trade, and producing a label to industry standard. I wanted the business cards to echo a handmade professional feel to them.

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So I passed the job onto the husband, as he had worked on the second book "Anatomy of the Bra", he set to the task of, designing and hand-printing each card. What I love is that the final result exceeded my original thoughts. And that's no mean feat as I'm one of those people who likes to keep a tight control on all things creative for the business.

 

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 SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL

SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL

Strapping lass

 Wide fabric straps by 'YES MASTER'

Wide fabric straps by 'YES MASTER'

The anatomy of the bra book goes into a detailed look at each component of the bra, here is a little excerpt from the strap section...

...The strap can come in one continuous length, or can be divided into two sections, the front section being called the front strap, and the back section being called the back strap. Bras with larger cups often have the strap split into two with the front strap having no stretch to help reduce the bounce of the breasts. With the strap being split in two this also provides the designer chance to embellish the front strap...

When thinking about your front strap don't just limited yourself to self covered straps. Here are some views of what other designers have done in the past.

 

 Strap detail going across the whole chest by 'AGENT PROVOCATEUR'

Strap detail going across the whole chest by 'AGENT PROVOCATEUR'

 Lace detail sewn onto the strap by 'FRED AND GINGER'

Lace detail sewn onto the strap by 'FRED AND GINGER'

 Front straps replaced with beads by 'MYLA'

Front straps replaced with beads by 'MYLA'

Researching and designing

In "How to become a lingerie designer" we covered a section about making your brand recognisable. Researching and designing lingerie which echoes your style. A brand to executive this to a phenomenal standard is Hopeless Lingerie. This season the new collection 'As Above, So Below' is inspired by the ocean. Interpreting nature's natural pattern into bold lines and fluidity. 

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Under, outer & over

For those not knowing to be a lingerie or fashion designer, maybe start to look at under as outer wear. With straps peeking out over your top, straps over your top or a well structured corset. 

The following designers have executed this transition beautifully. 

 

 BRAND: Lake & Stars

BRAND: Lake & Stars

 BRAND: Bordelle

BRAND: Bordelle

 BRAND: RAW

BRAND: RAW

 BRAND: Kriss Soonik

BRAND: Kriss Soonik