Book review: The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie
My Me Made May ’18 pledge mentioned a promise of sewing lingerie. For this purpose I bought the wonderful book of Katherine Sheers and Laura Sanford: “The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie“. The authors have experience in designing lingerie to such brands as Agent Provocateur and it shows in the multitude of luxurious projects available in this book.
The book contains instructions for 25 different projects and paper pattern sheet. The difficulties of the projects range from simple garters and night mask, through basic knickers to full bras and suspender belts.
The sizes range from 8 to 18 corresponding to waist circumferences from 65 to 90 cm. However the book recommends selecting the correct size for the bottoms by using your high hip measurement, which is more accurate. The bra size range from 32A to 36C/34D. I think that the bra size range doesn’t go to any bigger sizes since the bras in the book aren’t very supportive and thus wouldn’t work.
The last chapter particularly is worth its weight in gold. It contains detailed illustrated instructions of each and every process stage you’ll encounter with lingerie projects. These are not your normal sewing book stuff like “This is slip stitch”, but specialised stuff like “This is how you make adjustable straps” or “This is how you hand-sew a shelled edge finish”. The images for these are super clear drawings that make it easy to understand the processes.
To properly test the book, I decided to make the first project that was recommended as a starting project: Pretty as a Picnic cotton mini. It has the most detailed instructions so that there is no need to leaf through to the last chapter for technical details. However, in the later projects this may be slightly annoying even if it makes the instructions more compact.
I have never made a pair of knickers out of cotton lawn before. However I have plenty of little scraps that are just perfect for this kind of project. Well, to be honest, most of the projects in this book can be made out of those annoying little scraps that you have saved, because “you can use them for something”.
This cotton mini project was super fast to make. I chose the size 10 which fitted nicely. For the other people perhaps considering this book I warn that read the introduction chapter carefully! Only afterwards I noticed that only the French seams had 10 mm seam allowance and all the other seams were supposed to have 5 mm seam allowance. This didn’t really affect the fit much for me, who rushed straight into sewing, but it caused the unfinished edges of my cotton lawn to show under the elastic bands at the edges. This didn’t look good, so I had to spend a lot of time carefully trimming the seam allowances so that they weren’t visible.
The final detail was to make a nice ribbon bow to decorate the centre front. I regularly save all those little pieces of ribbon that often hold garments at hangers and that I usually cut away at home. I found just the right shade of red among those. To make a neat little bow I used this lovely tutorial that uses a regular table fork to help to tie the tiny bow.
The result is very pretty cotton mini, though, and it is as comfortable to wear as the regular lycra or cotton undies made out of knit fabric.
The next thing I want to try from this book is to make a matching bra since I still have some scraps of this floral cotton left.
I enrolled into the Amazon affiliate program and if you’d be interested in this book I’d be thankful if you clicked to Amazon through my links above. Amazon is a nice source for product images and they claim that if no-one buys anything through my account they cancel my affiliate status and I lose my handy image stock! I, however, bought the book with my own money and my opinions are my own!
Thank you for visiting my blog and welcome back soon! Happy sewing!
hey i found your blog, so i have the book and i am testing it. does the seam allowance suppised to be added outside the pattern piece, or is it incorporated in the pieces. i cant find this information 🙂