Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ooh la la Pin Up Sew-Along... What will you need?

I'm so excited by the overwhelming number of you who want to participate in the sew along! The most important thing I want you to take away from this experience is the knowledge that sewing lingerie is NOT SCARY!
"Blue Eyed Monster" Hugh J. Ward, 1930
I started sewing my own lingerie when I was just a novice. No one told me it would be hard so I started with a vintage tap pants pattern and it was still one of the easiest things I've ever sewn!
Think about it... most vintage lingerie is really just a bunch of small pattern pieces, quickly cut out, quickly sewn together and finished off with a buttonhole or two!

There are three simple things I recommend if you're new to sewing lingerie:

1. Use a vintage pattern! Many vintage lingerie patterns will avoid using techniques such as bias cutting, serged edges, and elastic that intimidate many a new seamstress.

2. Avoid satin, silk and lace the first time. Slippery fabrics if you're not really used to them will make a new process that much more difficult for you. Instead use a lovely cotton print or flannel in a playful design. Intend your first project to be for everyday wear and the fabrics and techniques involved will take the pressure off making your first try perfect.

3. Make a muslin! Trust me, I'm not qualified to preach when it comes to making muslins because I nearly always skip that step. I'm lazy. But I ALWAYS make a muslin of my lingerie pattern first; the pieces are usually small and you can make a muslin quickly with no fuss, and lingerie needs to fit really well or you'll never wear it!

Now, on to details. What kind of fabric will you need for the sew along? That depends on two things.

1. What is your experience level with sewing?
If you're new, try cotton. You can always bind the edges with a satin bias tape to make it look a bit fancier. If you have some more experience with sewing, by all means, try some satin, brocade, silk, whatever you like!

2. When do you plan on wearing said lingerie?
If you're planning on having it on for a few minutes of foreplay before it's removed, then go for the fancier fabrics, lace, and trim.
If you plan on using it as an actual long wear support garment while you're at the office or church, then think of what you'll wear it under. Satin is great because dresses can slide over the fabric without catching and sticking. Cotton will breathe better if you're wearing it all day. Keep these things in mind when making your decision.
I'm making mine with a vintage peach rayon satin fabric. A couple of panels will have lace overlay but overall this will be a sexy but serviceable undergarment.
There's a great story to illustrate this point on Annabellebumps.

In my experience, you can make a corset out of just about any fabric, it just depends on whether or not you add boning, or plan on wearing it very long that will decide your fabric plans.

On to notions. Here are a few links to places that you can get garter clips online:

I found some winderful vintage lingerie notions including straps and garter clips at Acme Notions.

Create for Less (has two versions new by Dritz). They also sell several kinds of boning and eyelet supplies.

This ebay search shows several sellers with both new and vintage garter clips

This etsy search shows vintage garter clips (though you have to wade through a lot of horrendous lingerie to find them).

I found my hook and eye tape for the best price on ebay but keep in mind that I can't buy these things where I live so I get nearly everything online. You might have better luck at your local shops.

Have fun shopping!


  1. I am so excited to start this. I don't know why, but I have feared sewing my own lingerie for a long time. I assume its difficult because of the little details that make it nice but I'm certain that once I start, I won't be able to stop! I just bought some beautiful crepe-back satin on sale at Joannes fabric last night. For gals in the US, JoAnne's and Hancock have a good selection of lingerie notions at reasonable prices. I'm also sewing your beautiful vintage teddy to match!!

  2. Hi Anna, I am so excited about this that I did start shopping yesterday! I found a lovely green silk in the remnant bin for $7.00/yard, plus some gorgeous brown satin ribbon - I'm going to look like an Andes mint when done. Though, I may make my first one out of cotton or satin, just to be sure I've got the right fit. I also started looking through some vintage garter straps from my husband's grandma, I think they will work for this project. I've still got do decide on eyelets or hook and eye tape. Since I've never worked with either, do you have a recommendation?

    1. It depends on what youw ant to wear it under. I'm going with hook and eye because I'll be wearing it under more wiggle dresses than anything else. The ties from eyelet might make a small bunch at the back. Think about your 5 go-to outits and plan what will look best underneath...
      There's also the thought of which you can get out of faster... :)

  3. There's also the bra maker's supply as a resource that ships worldwide whose notions kit went into my first bra:

  4. Looking forward to starting this.
    Could be a good way to use up some bits of left over fabric.
    Feb/March Threads magazine has a bra making feature including a list of supplies stockists.

  5. I'm definitely going to do this, I've been terrified to make lingerie but now that I know there are people to vent with I'm excited!

  6. My Joann's is currently relocating- meaning the old location is selling off everything... so I shall have to wait for it to finish moving so I can buy my stuff!

  7. Excellent information. I am new to both sewing vintage AND sewing lingerie and this advice was wonderful!

    Love your blog...I found you through Va-Voom Vintage. :)

  8. Just got been to etsy for the patterns and have put a quick post about it all on my blog. I'm rather excited. Although I'm a little unsure on what notions I will need other than garter clips?

  9. Hi Anna,

    I want to join in this sew-a-long, too, and have just purchased the patterns :)
    Now I have a question concerning the fabric for the belt: does it need to have "body" and strenghth? I'm completely new to vintage sewing, but I have sewn many, many historical corsets and stays and for them I always use strong fabrics like coutil etc. but I'm not shure if this would be too massive...
    Please, please give me any advice :)


    1. Hi Cecilia, You can do the corset in many different fabrics. You could use coutil and it would work beautifully but if you wanted to use another fabric with less strength, that is possible too if you either underline or flat line the fabric with a more sturdy one.

  10. For any Brits, I buy lingerie/corsetmaking supplies from here I have always had great service and swift delivery

  11. Great guide. It made me so inspired to create more lingerie for my self. Because is there anything as beautiful such as handmade lingerie? <3 thank you for sharing this.