Making Swimmers Out Of Underwear {Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra}

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More swimmers, I know. This could totally be lingerie though, almost. I even used lingerie patterns for both. Just take out that lining and add a gusset and you’re got yourself a fancy pants bra and knickers set.

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Did you notice the trim? Eeeeeeee. It’s the kind of thing I associate with expensive lingerie. I love how it looks. It’s called ladder or fagoted trim. This particular version is stretch and intended for swimwear. Both the fabric and the trim came from Pitt Trading. Bra cups from Booby Traps and lining from The Remnant Warehouse.

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I know what you’re thinking. What human on the planet could possibly need as many pairs of swimmers as you? I get it. I do. Some of my new ones are for sensible lap swimming at the local pool. Some are for our upcoming holiday. This set is definitely a holiday set, although I could totally do laps in these comfortably without anything escaping.

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My problem is, I see lovely fabric and then I have to have it. I often don’t have a project in mind, but I know that it will get used eventually. When I saw this spandex at Pitt Trading, I thought it would make the perfect Romy bra, with the stripes running in different directions to make it all interesting and stuff. Then of course, the trim came up and I knew it would be a match made in heaven. The final straw was that I already had black thread in my overlocker that I’m about to change to cream. So I ran these babies up before having undertake that chore.

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I wasn’t completely sure how the trim should be sewn in and I think I did in wrong on the upper cups, but thought it would look better with the seams enclosed. On the bottoms, I sewed it directly over the top of the fabric and I think that looks better.

Once again I added foam cups, which isn’t part of the original Romy instructions but I keep muddling my way through it. It just makes such a difference to the fit for me. I mean, it’s fine without, but next level supportive with the cups.

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Just for a quick comparison, this one is lined with power mesh:

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And this has the cups:

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It feels far more secure and there’s much less bounce. Good for beach swimming. For my latest version, I lengthened all the pieces so it’s more long line style. It also provided a bit of extra space for the cups. Once again I eliminated the back closure by cutting the back band piece on the fold. It does mean you have to pull it over your head but I find it much more comfortable to wear.

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The cups don’t look perfect from the inside – the can be a bit tricky to get  perfectly smooth. They are pretty good from the outside though. I’ve come to let it go that my lingerie and swimmers won’t look as finished as RTW from the inside, but they look totally fine when they are on and that’s ok with me.

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Is it holiday time yet?

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Don’t Say It {Jalie 3242 + Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra + Megan Nielsen Rowan Bodysuit}

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I hate the term ‘mummy and me’. It makes me shudder. There, I said it. I don’t hate the idea, just the cutesy term. Blergh. I prefer to call this ‘being economical with fabric’. I managed to get these two out of less than a yard, which was a surprise. I was sure it would have taken more.

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Yes, I made the same pair of swimmers as yesterday (this time sans zip and with the addition of foam cups). So I’m not going to talk about them again. You can check here if you missed yesterday’s post.

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Apparently he’s not embarrassed by me or handmade clothes. Yet.

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It’s still raining. Our feet are webbed and check out what it’s doing to my hair. At least everyone has water again and the garden is happy.

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Mashing It Up {Jalie 3242, Megan Nielsen Rowan and Ohhh Lulu Romy}.

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I’ve mentioned before how I’m happiest when submerged, like some kind of sunglasses-wearing dugong. As a family we spend a lot of time in the water. Kids have a habit of growing too, so I knew I needed to replace last year’s swimmers. Locally, there wasn’t a lot of lycra available that the boys would like, so I was browsing Spoonflower and pretty soon I had a cartful of their sport lycra. Ahem. Including those amazing Andrea Lauren moths for myself. You might have noticed I have a thing for moths. I have one tattooed on my arm and there’s a moth in my KMAD logo. It stems from a love of Silence of the Lambs, which I realise is creepy. I read the book when I was about 12 years old and have just loved that moth image ever since. I really like the old biology illustrations too, which is what the print reminded me of.

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The two little guys and the big guy got theirs made from Jalie 3242. Yes, it’s an underwear pattern, no I don’t care. They generally just wear them underneath boardies anyway, so it’s not like they are flashing them all over the beach. Though they could if they wanted to really. Look how cool those prints are! I must add, that when my husband tried his on, he pretended to announce his swim race for the olympics over a megaphone and ran around the house shaking his arms and legs about for a bit. Warming up for his pretend swim.

For theirs I replaced the underwear elastic band with a fabric band. Easy.

Bits for mine:
Sport Lycra from Spoonflower
Lining from The Remnant Warehouse
Chunky zip from East Coast Fabric
Elastic from Pitt Trading
Yellow rings and sliders harvested from an old pair of swimmers.

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I was keen to make a one piece for myself. My old favourite is getting a bit saggy and the Ohhh Lulu Cindy I made for myself a while back is too big now. I’m joining to local pool so will be doing a bit of lap swimming and figured a well fitting one piece is a good idea. I wanted to see if I could create a slightly different style using two of my faves – Megan Nielsen’s Rowan bodysuit and Ohhh Lulu’s Romy bra. Here’s a refresher on what they look like:

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I love how the bottom half of the bodysuit fits and Romy provides decent shaping and coverage without wire. I pulled out my pattern pieces, marked off where I wanted the bodysuit to end (by comparing it to my favourite black one piece) and lined up the Romy on top to see how they’d fit together. It was pretty much perfect. I took some width out of the Romy back piece and straightened it out, but that was it.

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I added the zip because I assumed I would need it to get the swimmers on and off (turns out I don’t, but nevermind). It was by far the most painful part of the whole process, but not as difficult as last time. I had to shorten it and add a tab to the end again, then I basted that sucker in by hand first and that definitely helped. Actually, I basted heaps with these (leg holes, bodice top edge, bra pieces, raw edges where the zip goes) – it really helps when you have to sew the binding etc on and you’re not struggling to keep multiple layers together.

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For the first time ever, I made my own straps using this tutorial and my own binding using this one. I prefer wider straps than RTW offers on most of their swimmers, so turning these wasn’t hard at all. Making my own straps and finishing with binding always seemed so scary in the past, I have no idea why. I’d always just finish necklines with elastic and legs with bands (or elastic). Probably because I started sewing lingerie before swimmers and that’s just what I knew. Anyway, the binding finish isn’t as neat as RTW and I know zig zag looks super ‘homemade’ but it’s not really obvious unless you’re too close.

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I’m really happy with the fit and I don’t think there’s anything I would change. I might try adding foam cups next time for a bit of extra lift, but it’s honestly fine without them. And adding the cups means I’d lose the enclosed seams of the bra lining because of the way the cup is split into two. I’d have to stitch them to the lining so they don’t move around and drive me nuts.

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We’ve just had about 6 months of rain over 4 days, so I’m not really sure why I’ve been sewing swimmers, but I’m glad they are all done. Bring on the beach! Bring on the pool! Bring on our trip to Samoa!

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More Weird Tan Lines {Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra}

Yeah it’s another Romy. In the fabric leftover from my one piece. Nothing you haven’t seen before and mostly uneventful. The bottoms are from the Megan Nielsen Rowan bodysuit because I loved the fit so much.

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Never one to leave things alone though, I changed the front of the Romy so it ties up.

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It’s a really simple hack because there is a seam down the centre front anyway. I just added some casing and boning for support, along with three loops each side. I’m going to add a fourth to the top because it looks a bit weird not lacing all the way to the top.

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I attached picot for the bottom band (upside down so the picots aren’t showing). I know picot isn’t traditionally swimsuit elastic, but I’ve found it on the inside of my RTW swimmers in the past and it’s always held up really well. As usual, I lined with power mesh and all the seams are enclosed – I do love how clean that finish is.

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I cheated and didn’t make the straps, they were harvested from an old pair of swimmers. I always pinch what I can from bras and swimmers before I turf them, as long as they’re still in good nick. It’s so worth it. I hate making straps, it’s a chore.

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It just occurred to me that I could try lacing the top so the bow is at the bottom instead of how I have it here. Shall give that one a try!

Reinventing Ready To Wear {Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra}

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I do love me some creative strapping on bras and swimmers and have quite a few examples in my wardrobe. My most worn is probably this one piece by Disturbia. I lurrrrrve it. I’ve always been a bit hesitant to try and recreate it when sewing though because it all looks a bit complex and maths have never been my strong point.

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I have some unsuccessful RTW examples. You know the ones that you purchase online, hoping for the best but that just never work? This is one of those:

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I wanted to love it but the shape is all wrong for me. It holds absolutely nothing where it should, the front is too wide, the boning at the sides bends out and the bottom band (or lack of) is useless. It gapes at the back where that strapping sits. Ugh. Then earlier this week I stumbled across this Iron Fist Sports Bra and neeeeeeeded it. My inner nerd loves how the straps look like a spine and ribs. But of course, it’s out of stock. Which got me thinking, could I recreate it myself so I know that it works for me?

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Yeah, worth a try. I already have Ohhh Lulu’s Romy and know that it fits me because I’ve made a couple of versions (here and here). This sort of fancy back would also be ideal for the strappy back of the Sincerely Rylee dress that I made. A bra that’s less ‘ooops you can see my bra’ and more ‘OH YEAH THIS IS MY BRA AND IT’S FANCY AS HELL’.

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And look how pretty it is! The fabric is by Dear Stella. I’ve noticed lately that a lot of my favourite fabric companies (Cotton and Steel and Timeless Treasures also) are coming out with knits. It’s brilliant. I love the prints and the quality is very high too.

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The sparkly strapping is from Booby Traps. As a rule, you’re not really supposed to use strapping as the upper and lower bands on a bra because it’s generally pretty firm – but this strapping is pretty soft and stretchy (more like elastic). I’m thrilled with how it turned out.

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An inside out photo if you’re interested to see how it all fits together. I was a bit haphazard with the whole thing but it worked just fine. I decided to shorten the back band pattern piece where it starts to curve down and narrow for the strapping and back closure. So that whole part has been omitted and the straps start there. The inside isn’t as pretty as the outside but I can deal with that. I’ve lined the whole thing in power mesh for support, as I always do with wire free bras.

I figured out the length of the back straps using the very complex method of comparing it to one of my existing Romys.

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I wasn’t going to bother taking pics of me wearing it because I wanted to wear it right away, but I grabbed a couple when I first put it on this morning anyway. So I do apologise for them being a bit unplanned and rubbish. You can see that it still provides decent support and shaping. The power mesh lining and princess seams help that. I’ve used pale pink hardware cannibalised from an old bra and matching pink bows.

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Ooops – out of focus. Best of a bad bunch. It’s hard to take a pic of your own back. Haven’t even brushed my hair. Cool though, right? Nothing buckling (even though I’m mid adjustment, sorry).

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I’ve worn both the bra and knickers in public all day and am pleased to report that I was super comfortable and everything stayed in place. So that’s a win. I really want to try a swimmy version next, but the thought of having to make all the strapping is daunting!

Snoozer McGavin {Ohhh Lulu Kate Camisole + Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas}

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These aren’t anything you haven’t seen before, so I won’t bang on  about them. I picked up the cactus print satin at Spotlight earlier this week just because it’s cute. That’s literally all it takes. Never mind that satin is the devil and I don’t really wear it. That doesn’t matter at all.

Fabric: Spotlight

Top: Ohhh Lulu Kate Camisole

Bottoms: Closet Case Files Carolyn PJs

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But since making my first Kate Camisole in satin over the weekend, I really felt like I’d leveled up a bit, so decided another Kate was in order. With matching PJ shorts. Oooh and  I still have some scraps of that cool spotty grey poly. Oh yes, let’s do this. Of course, not all satans (sorry, satins) are created equal and I melted a hole in this one after pressing the first dart. Ahem. Let that be a lesson to us all, TEST FIRST.

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Ch-ch-ch-changes…

I eliminated the faux fly front on the Carolyn shorts because the stitching was puckering the fabric and I really couldn’t be bothered trying that again. Because satin. No piping either obviously. You can see I still have a bit of puckering where the bands are attached at the bottom of the shorts.

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I went a bit rogue with the Kate cami and didn’t cut it on the bias because the cacti would have been running sideways. It’s not as drapey, I guess – but no problems. I also cut the neckline straight across instead of the V, lowered the arm holes (they are a bit high on my last version) and did the standard back. I also used pre made satin bias tape because I have a tonne of it and I was not keen on making it out of this fabric.

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Bonus points if you noticed I bought cactus print duck as well for Sid’s bed. They really are kicking some goals with prints at the moment.

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And hey, I know it’s still August and this morning we woke up to a chilly 7 degrees (that’s 44F for my US friends and yeah, that’s cold for us), but our days have been so mild this winter that it barely even feels like we’ve had a winter. It’s still beach weather, really (for the tourists anyway) with most days getting to 27 degrees (that’s 80F, thank you Google). So it does feel like I’ll be able to wear these babies sooner rather than later. I never really understood why you’d sew your own PJs because no one ever really sees them and they are generally much cheaper to buy, but I know better now. And I’m sorry. Handmade errrrything is better.

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Thrifted Fabric Weekend {Ohhh Lulu Kate Camisole}

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Hello again. I know, two posts in two days. Who even am I?

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I know I’m generally anti PDF pattern, but I make an exception for Ohhh Lulu because she’s rad and also lingerie pattern pieces tend to be quite small so there’s not a whole lot of cutting and sticking paper together.

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That said, the Kate Camisole (pattern here!) is cut on the bias so the front and back pieces are entire (not place on fold pieces) – does that make sense? So they are a bit bigger and there was some cutting and sticking required. But I survived.

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There’s not much to this one, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t make mistakes! Oh no sir! Would have helped if I’d read the instructions properly, but honestly, I’m like a bull at a gate. MUST. SLOW. DOWN. The bias tape is meant to be bias facing, not binding. I used it as binding for the front. Oops. Too lazy to fix it though and it ain’t so bad. Sarah has a super helpful tutorial for this, which can be found here. I recommend watching it before you sew, not after like I did.

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There are a number of variations on this pattern and I chose the lace back, she’s pretty cool right? The lace has a bit of stretch so I made it more stable with elastic (which is an option in the pattern instructions). It’s not scallop lace, but it has all these rad shapes in the fabric so I just cut around one of them and it’s the perfect size, really. I didn’t use sliders on the straps because I found they were a bit short on me. Next time I’ll lengthen them a bit.

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Oh the fabric. It’s another op shop score. Same shop as the hanky panel fabric from yesterday, actually. It’s most definitely polyester but handled a hot iron really well, so I didn’t even have to swear or cry. I have a feeling it’s vintage, but I don’t know for sure. I only had about two metres of it, so it was perfect for this project – which uses a bit more fabric than you’d expect because of the bias cut thing. I’ll definitely be making this one again.

 

Bra vs Bralette {Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra + Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra part two}

Once again, this is a post about underwear. I’m wearing some. Probably NSFW.

Part One can be seen here.

Meanwhile, look at all my new beauties! Woo hoo!

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From L-R: Romy bra, Romy bra, copy from RTW bra, Marlborough bra and Marlborough bra. All the knickers are the same pattern and are self drafted from this Craftsy class.

Where do you get stuff?

Romy bra by Ohhh Lulu.

Marlborough bra by Orange Lingerie.

Most of the supplies are from Booby Traps and The Remnant Warehouse.

My wires are from Sew Squirrel. They also have beautiful kits if you’d prefer a one stop shop.

Here’s another Marlborough that I’m not going to say much about because it’s exactly the same as the one in the last post. Both the lace and velvet are stretch, so the bra is lined with nude bra lining. I wanted a bit of the scallop on the knickers, so didn’t take the picot elastic over the lace parts on the legs.

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This next Romy bra I did change a little bit. I moved the point where the back of the straps attach because they were a bit too wide for me (now they are more towards the centre of my back). I also widened the back strap and eliminated the closure, so it just pulls on over my head. It’s super comfortable. This time I didn’t line the side cups so the skin would be visible through the holes (oh how scandalous!). That also makes for a slightly more relaxed fit. I still find it quite a nice shape for a wireless bra, I think it’s the princess seams and the fact that I use mesh for the lining.

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Here’s the inside:

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And on. Sigh. The perfect weekend set.

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Bra vs Bralette {Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra + Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra Part One}

This post may or may not be safe for work, depending on who is looking over your shoulder. No nudity, but I’m wearing underwear.

Ok? ok.

This past weekend started with me digging through my underwear drawer and having a giant cull. Too big, too small, too low, too high, too worn, never worn, too grandma, too uncomfortable etc. You know the drill. Which left me with very little beyond the undies I’d made for myself. A sign, I think. What’s a girl to do? Sew four pairs of knickers on a Friday night. Party animal.

Of course, sewing four pairs of knickers can be done pretty easily in a few hours. But when one decides that she must now have bras to match, well – that takes a bit longer. I get asked about bra sewing more than anything else ever, so I thought I’d share some with you. Yeah I’m being brave and getting my clothes off. Because it’s all well and good to sew my bras, but you’re curious about fit too, right? I get it. I always was when I saw home sewn bras too. Because they are home sewn. How could they possibly compare to store bought?

Let’s talk about the patterns I used:

Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra (bralette).

Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra.

Knickers are self drafted using this class.

Materials are from all over the place, but mainly Booby Traps and The Remnant Warehouse.

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Lets talk about Romy first. I love Ohhh Lulu’s patterns and own several. I really love the mesh insert in the Romy and how you can use lace also. It’s pretty. When I bought it, I figured it would probably work as a bikini top, which it will (replace the picot with fold over elastic, the strapping with fabric straps and eliminate the back closure, or use a bikini closure instead). Not hard.

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Pros of a bralette:

  • It’s a much quicker sew than a wired bra.
  • Generally they use stretch fabric, which means it’s easy to match your bottoms.
  • You can line or not line, depending on the amount of support you like.

Cons of  bralette:

  • Less support than a wired bra for bigger busts.
  • I don’t feel the silhouette is as nice as a wired bra (on me – more mono boob).

This is the first time I’ve sewn Romy and yeah, I really should have waited and ordered some navy strapping, but I was keen to get it sewn and check the fit. Which is almost spot on, I just need to move the point where the straps attach at the back. They are too close to my shoulder blades, I need to move them towards the centre of my back. Other than that, I love it! It will definitely work as swimmers with a couple of tweaks. I lined the whole thing in powermesh for extra support. Even the back bands, which is different from the pattern. Actually using picot elastic instead of fold over is a bit of a departure too, but I made the knickers first and wanted them to match.

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I love how the Ohhh Lulu patterns teach you how to do enclosed seams. It looks so professional. What doesn’t look professional is that I totally forgot to trim back my seam allowance under the picot elastic at the underarm. Ooops.

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Now onto the Marlborough. This is quite a popular pattern and I can see why. It provides a tonne of lift. The powerbar (that piece of fabric that runs along the outside of the cups) is awesome at pushing everything front and centre. The pros and cons of the wired bras are pretty much the opposite of the bralettes – generally they require fabric with no stretch (I’ve used stretch mesh but lined with nude bra lining), they take much longer to sew but they are a lot more supportive for bigger busts. I prefer the silhouette on me.

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The Marlborough pattern directs you to use lace with clear elastic for those upper cups, but I’m a rule breaker and used the heart mesh (to match my already sewn undies, of course) and picot. I love using wide strapping too. Probably because I used to be an F cup and could never find the wide stuff on RTW bras. Unless they were, you know, beige, massive and boring as hell.

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I’ve already got another Marlborough and another Romy cut out to match the other pairs of knickers I sewed on Friday night. There’s nothing like a big old top up of a tired lingerie drawer to make you feel a million bucks.

Stayed tuned for part two…

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Just Keep Swimming {Ohhh Lulu Cindy Bodysuit}

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Being ok with the body you have is hard. I go through phases, but at the moment I’m struggling with it. Surely then making yourself swimmers, having photos in them and then putting them online is the worst idea, right? Maybe. For me it sort of helps though. No change rooms, no obnoxious size tags, no comparing myself to shop assistants with a completely different body shape to me. NONE OF THAT. Plus you get the style and print that is absolutely you. I put the images out there because all bodies are good bodies and I firmly believe we need to see a broad range of them so it becomes normal – especially for our children.

Right. I’ve professed my love of this pattern many times. I’ve made lingerie from it (as originally intended) but also a bikini. I’ve put off making the one piece/bodysuit version because it requires a bit of pattern manipulation and I’m generally pretty lazy. Turns out it wasn’t hard at all. There are a lot of pieces, more depending on how much lining you want. I used power mesh to line everything except the top and bottom side panels. I am a big fan of power mesh. A massive fan. The heavy stuff too. I feel like it’s changed my sewing life. Some people find it feels too restrictive, but I love that snug feeling – probably the same reason I love the feeling of wearing a waspie (although I don’t wear it a lot because it’s too hot most of the year here). It feels supportive and like a big hug.

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Pattern is Ohhh Lulu’s Cindy.

All the fabric for this one came from The Remnant Warehouse.

Underwire casing, wires and hardware from Booby Traps.

The little buttons were salvaged from an old bikini.

Also I sewed this mostly on my vintage Janome, with a little bit of over locking on my Bernina. I’m not even sure power mesh and spandex existed when the Janome was made.

So, problems. The power mesh is the really heavy stuff. I love it. I love sewing with it too, because my machines seem to like sewing knits more when there’s power mesh included in the mix. It stretches pretty well in one direction, but not a whole lot in the other. Not really thinking this through, I made sure the biggest amount of stretch  runs across my body, as I have done in my bras in the past. Fine in bras, less fine in the bottom half of the swimsuit which needs a bit of stretch vertically. It’s not restrictive enough to prevent me wearing them, but next time I might just use lining in that bottom from panel, or at least use a mesh that stretches well in both directions.

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A couple of other really minor issues were:

  • not taking the underwire casing high enough under the arms. I’m so used to using picot that folds over to cover it that I didn’t really think. I made binding out of the swim fabric for the first time ever and it actually worked pretty well! It’s something I’ve always been pretty scared to try in the past. There’s a couple of bits that are slightly twisted, but it’s not noticeable when I’m wearing it.
  • Next time I’ll trim down the highest point of the upper cups (where it folds over to attach a ring and the straps) as it was a bit wide for my rings. Well, rectangles in this case.

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I made my own straps for the first time too! Yay! Another process I’d been putting off. It was actually super easy. I cut two strips of fabric, 20 inches x 2 inches, folded them lengthwise (right sides together) and then used my over locker to attach swim elastic down the length. Then just turned them right side out and magic, straps!

These ones show the guts and where I put the mesh for support. I tend to use bands for the legs because it’s really easy and I like the bit of extra coverage.

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This pattern has the option to line the cups (which I always take advantage of because I need the extra support) and gives you really straight forward instructions on how to enclose all the seams. Looks nice and polished, doesn’t it?

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I know I end up blathering on when I blog this stuff, but when I was trying to talk myself into learning how to make lingerie and swimwear, I would madly google to find sewing blogs on the topic. It made everything seem so much more achievable and this way I hope to repay the favour of the bloggers that helped me (even though they probably don’t realise).

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Pretty decent fit, I think. The only issue is the mesh not having enough stretch vertically, so the wires aren’t sitting right up under my bust. But to be fair, I have that issue in just about every one piece in this style that I’ve ever tried on. So maybe it’s just me. Oh, another thing on fit – I kept the cups and top half my usual size but sized down two sizes on the bottom half, as the bikinis I’ve made before end up feeling too big once wet. And that’s not a feeling I enjoy in the surf. Ahem. Fine for comfy knickers, not so fine for swimmers.

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Yes, for someone who lives on the coast I am very pale. We’re all about being sun smart here and to shatter the illusion, these swimmers will be covered by a long sleeved rashie most of the time. Being sun burnt sucks.

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Extra bonus images of what we’ve been getting up to – it’s been really hot. Standard QLD summer stuff, but it still seems to surprise us every year. The kids and even the dog have very fair skin too 😉

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