Lingerie 101 : Part 1 Planning and Sketching - Fabriques

Lingerie 101 : Part 1 Planning and Sketching

Carol Walker
Welcome to Part 1 of my 'Lingerie 101' Blog series. This week I will walk you through one of my favourite parts to my sewing - and one which doesn’t actually involve the sewing machine. 

Most of the comments I get on my Instagram page are about people asking me where I get all my ideas. It’s difficult to say - but normally it starts like this......
It’s a day off, and as always there are a thousand errands to run. But always, as a treat to myself, I call into my favourite coffee shop and often that’s where the magic begins. The smell of freshly ground coffee has always worked wonders - but especially if it’s cold or raining outside. Slowly, slowly, through the fog of the coffee steam - the world begins to shrink and I can just be for a few moments.

I am often influenced by nature and the seasons, and now I carry my notebook and pens with me - you just never know when a great design will grab you.

I start by drawing a body. Anybody any shape - depending on who I am creating for, and then slowly, through the fog of the coffee house I add the lines and shapes of my favourite patterns  - or the specific requests for my friends.
I make all my family and friends lingerie as presents - every year I better myself with new patterns or colour combinations - and slowly, right before your eyes,  your concept is born! Other times it comes from seeing amazing fabric or lace. Or finding the perfect butter-soft jersey fabric just calling to be made into the tiniest thong. (Or my favourite big pants too) 
It doesn’t matter if you are not an artist - it is a process to be enjoyed. But a quick point to make is that you can elevate your sketches quickly and easily by adding shade lines to your sketches. It makes your character come alive on the page - and makes the whole process so much more enjoyable. My sketches aren't for anyone other than me, but I do really love this bit. I get to try out colour combinations and pattern ideas. Plus I have also learnt the hard way by ruining the fabric and then not liking how something works together - it can be very frustrating!!

It is always good to remember who you are creating for. For example, the things I make for my mum are very definitely not what I would make for my wife or my closest friends. I also make a mixture for me too. Over the years I have a finely tuned selection of  favourite  patterns:
My self drafted big pant: (work pants)
My favourite tiny panties: (date night)
Non-wired bra: (12 hours shifts are never good when you are trussed up like a chicken!)
My perfect fitting Wired Bra (all other occasions) 
My plan for this blog series is to show you how to plan and prepare for a simple but comfortable set of underwear which I personally guarantee will make your morning better. (There really is nothing like the smug satisfaction that your own lingerie, the stuff you actually made, fits you better, is way comfier and is infinitely better quality.) Another bonus: when you get bored of them, cut off the elastics and the rings and make a new set. 
Over the weeks we will work through what you need, your fabrics, elastics and notions, all of which will elevate your makes quickly. Hopefully - after a few test-runs, you will get to a position like me where I haven't bought any lingerie now for a good few years. 

Some ideas I thought we would explore is a simple bralette pattern and matching thongs. Both patterns come from an amazing pattern designer Hannah who has created Evie la I have so many ‘go-to’ patterns but these are a firm favourite. In the following weeks we will make the bralette and matching panties, then the Ogden Cami from my favourite printed tulip with matching panties.
This set came about when I was pouring through the new fabric sites. I literally stumbled on the fabric listed on and have been hooked ever since. Underwear can be made from anything literally but I always opt for a stretch fabric. My first makes were from the butter-soft 4-way stretch - which has since become a firm favourite for everyday wear.
Here I have shown you my choice for the blog. As always it’s a combination - but never be afraid to use colour. For me, I wear a uniform and I love knowing that what’s underneath is a much better, and way more colourful version of me. 
As you progress, you will want to try more tricky fabrics - the printed stain is a glorious vibrant riot of colour which also looks stunning under a sheer shirt. The rest is literally up to you! 
I loved the vibrancy of the tulip satin and had the perfect lace sitting at home in my stash. This set is the 'Darcey Bra’ and the ‘Chloe Thong’ both from the sketches followed easily.
What's the best bit about making your own lingerie? That’s easy! You can make really stunning underwear out of less than half a meter. The rest is up to you. 

The final part to the preparation is the source the elastics and Notions/findings. These can be daunting at first but stay with me because  Part 2 of my  Lingerie 101 will explain literally everything you need to know.
Bye for now xx
You can also follow more of my makes on #pinkvelveltlingerie

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