Thursday July 12, 2007

 When last heard from, my SWAP Part II needed two tops to be complete. One I had cut out in March. When I went to get it yesterday to sew it up, I could not find it. I must have put it away somewhere during the Great Flood or something. The other I have sewn except for the hems, but I do not like it much.

I am toying with the idea of abandoning Part II altogether and going ahead with Part III.

In the meantime, I continued with my adventures in lingerie.

Chathaboune brought up the full slip, and Ozarque upped the ante with a mention of bra-slips. A bra slip is (or was, since Ozarque finds that they are as unavailable as teddies, which I had to define for a young reader) a bra with a slip attached to it. I had one once, and it was an actual underwire bra with a slip, much like the boned sundresses you see on the runways for the summer.

I tried to find one ready-made for Ozarque, and it appears that they are still made and presumably worn in the UK and NZ, but not here in Hamburger-a-go-go-land.

In fact, it appears that Australian Stitches gave instructions on making one not long ago. I do not have access to that magazine on a regular basis, but I don’t see why we couldn’t figure it out ourselves.

I can see two ways to do it. First, one could make a bra, lay it over a full slip pattern to see where to cut for the seam, and sew the bottom of the full slip to the bra. Second, a girl who didn’t really need that engineering could make a powernet lining for the full slip, just from the neckline to right below the bust, and sew on plush elastic at 7the edge, creating something like the “shelf bra” somteimes found in tank tops or swimsuits.

The second option is clearly the easiest, so I gave it a try yesterday in between appointments.  I cut a simple chemise shaped full slip, just a front and a back, from crepe-backed satin.

Then I used the same pieces as a guide to cut a shelf bra from Lycra satin. I sewed the pieces together in a tube, sewing the slip in the usual way and then sewing the Lycra in as a facing.

7 When I turned it right side out, I had a slip with a 4-way stretch panel as a facing.

 I added elastic to the bra part. To do this, I just used a machine zigzag stitch to apply a soft knitted elastic to the edge of the facing, just like the leg openings of panties.

In case you have never done this before, here is how:  you 7divide the elastic into quarters, and do the same withthe edge to which you plan to sew it. Pin the elastic to the edge of the fabric at those points. Then sew it on, stretching between the pins. Your elastic will be nice and even, and the fabric will gather up just right.

I could also have done a casing, but I thought the former option would be more comfortable to wear.


When I turned the facing to the inside, I ended up with a simple slip with a shelf bra.

I made spaghetti straps from the crepe-backed satin and sewed them on. This also is quite simple. You sew a tube of the fabric, turn it right side out using a safety pin, and Bob’s 7your uncle. I like to catch straps in the seam between the facing and the fabric, but in this case I was afraid to complicate matters with the shelf bra experiment, so I just sewed the straps on neatly by hand afterwards.

I now need a good way to make a crisp edge at the top. I tried tacking the facing at the seams, but since the facing is tight and stretchy (which it has to be for the bra effect), that distorted the shape of the slip, so I undid it.

The obvious solution would be to sew a trim to the top edge. However, I have run out of the ribbon I’ve been using on the satin pieces.

Since this slip will obviously not be worn with the half slip or camisole, it doesn’t really need to match them, though.

7I have a lot of nice laces in my trim box, but the recipient of this garment is not a lacy girl, and in fact has spoken out against lace even on underwear in my hearing more than once.

 It may be that understitching — simply sewing the front of the slip to the seam allowance of the facing and slip seam — would do the trick, but I don’t know about having a line of stitching there, especially since I have been avoiding all visible machine stitching on the satin pieces.

I will contemplate these things today at the store.






5 responses to “Thursday July 12, 2007”

  1. ozarque Avatar

    When I was young, every good department store had associated with it an expert seamstress called a “corsetiere,” who would make custom lingerie for you after having measured every inch of the relevant areas of your body herself. A Maas Brothers corsetiere made a full-length custom back brace for me in that fashion, and that brace — which by the time I finally had to give it up consisted mostly of darns and mends — is the only one I’ve ever owned that actually fit me. By the time I had to have a new brace, there were no more corsetieres, at least not in the U.S. If you go on the way you’re going, however, I think that you may find yourself qualified to go into business as a corsetiere, and I’ll bet that you’d find yourself swamped with customers and orders if you did. The U.S. is awash in women who can’t find underwear that fits, not at any price.

    [Those department stores of my youth also had lovely “tea rooms” where you could have wonderful lunches, and elegant ladies rooms with chaise longues and vases of flowers, and perfectly charming salespersons …. but that’s another topic. I’d love to have them back.]

  2. dextr Avatar

    That sounds good to me, too. The tea rooms, I mean, and all that luxury.

  3. CanadianNational Avatar

    What pattern are you using? I think I mentioned before, but I’m looking for a camisol pattern with gentle but effective support.  I don’t want a shelf bra or anything of that nature, just something to gently cup.

  4. CanadianNational Avatar

    RYC: Sorry – my brain fart. I remember seeing the pattern – I just forgot to write it down. Bad CN! Thanks for reminding me.

  5. sighkey Avatar

    RYC: I agree, you wouldn’t be unemployed for long.

    ROzarqueComment: We had those sort of dept store tea rooms when I was growing up here in NZ as well. Alas they are now gone although just recently there is evidence that they might be making a comeback – but in a different sort of dept store. I have heard that our Mitre ‘megastore’ (a dept store that sells all sorts of hardware and stuff) now has a cafe/restaurant within it.