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Lingerie Workshop

September 26, 2010

Well it seems this is a week of learning new and intriguing things! Last night I attended our local Neighborhood Group meeting for the American Sewing Guild. It was a very small group in attendance, which was okay with me as it provided so much one-on-one time during the presentation, and meant I could touch and feel every sample — my favorite part of demos!

Judy brought some samples of projects in work, reference material, and some wonderful fabric and trim samples along with her favorite sources. The topic? Lingerie. Her work was beautiful with exacting mitred corners, perfectly applied elastics, and exquisite fabrics. What was so nice is that this is all very attainable. Judy is an accomplished seamstress, but really emphasizes basics. She prides herself on finding really good deals on beautiful fabrics, and she shares everything.

Judy brought a number of samples she’s completed so we could see each of her tips and techniques in a finished piece. She had a basic half slip highlighted by the lace trim applied with precisely mitered corners and perfectly applied waist elastic; a pair of basic panties in 100% cotton knit to show the simplicity of making them, a one piece chemise, and a short kimono style robe as a work in progress.

I learned so much from Judy’s lingerie demo it’s hard to prioritize so I’ll just spill them out here:

Some basics that should get you started:

  • Good options for your lingerie can include fine single knits, polyester or silk charmuese, or any other light and flowing fabric that catches your eye.
  • A basic, narrow and shortened zigzag stitch works on most fine knits for a seam.
  • For a picot finish that provides a scalloped edge, use the blind hem stitch with the wide stitch extending over the folded edge of fabric. By folding your fabric edge to be finished under to about 1/4″ and stitching almost that far, catching the raw edge while having the wide stitch extend past the folded edge you will create a scallop and a finished edge all at once. Practice on scraps first, but it’s quite straightforward.
  • Hand basting your work prior to sewing them will relieve you of many errors especially with the laces.

The key things I learned from Judy’s demo on lingerie are 1) take your time, 2) your needle and thread matter – choose your needles based on the fabric with more care than usual. Knits require a ball point, and fine knits usually won’t tolerate anything but a small needle. Test on scrap fabric. Same goes for your thread choice. For lingerie you can probably start with a polyester, but test it as well. I prefer Gutterman, but Judy likes Dual Duty just as well. 3) Less is more. You don’t have to go for elaborate patterns and trims, but no matter what your choice, be prepared to practice the stitching and trimming since that is what will matter. It’s all in the details for lingerie.

I was pretty excited to see that some beautiful and affordable fabrics along with classic patterns and some patience can turn out amazing lingerie that would normally cost a fortune — when you can find them!! If you think about it, a slip whether full or half; some tap pants, camisoles, or lounge wear really don’t have complicated construction requirements. We shy away because any little error glares out at us from these very sheer and lightweight fabrics.

I have a wonderful stash of fabrics that should be ideal for lingerie. I previously kept pushing them aside during my rummage for inspiration moments, but now I have a few nice ideas for each piece. I know I’ll be doing  a full slip – because I want one that fits. Then I will have to try out a couple camis and of course panties (or as Stan say, scivvies). I was inspired by Judy’s short kimono style robe as well. I have just the piece of fabric to accommodate that look! Workshops can lead to such great adventures! I’m really glad I made it to this one. Thanks Judy!

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 26, 2010 7:40 pm

    Great tips here. I would love to attend a 2 day workshop of nothing but making lingerie . If ever you put one together let me know and hopefully I will be able to attend…

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