Lingerie 101: Series 2: The Devonshire Bra - Fabriques

Lingerie 101: Series 2: The Devonshire Bra

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The Devonshire Bra pattern from Orange Lingerie is one of the best patterns for using up your lace, and is one of my ‘go-to’ favourites. If you were with me for the first series you will know it is a great pattern for using up some of your  leftovers. 

 It is a great fit and a much lighter weight bra so is perfect for the spring and summer and for holiday bras. It is also quite a quick make.

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Fabric and Notions: For this make I am using some gosimer thin, white stretch lace that has been sitting in the bottom of my stash for ages, with all sunshine yellow elastics and Rose Gold Findings. The lining will be a white power mesh with a flesh coloured Non-stretch mesh to stabilise the cups. My decorative plush elastic is white for this bra but it is all personal choice - there is such a vast array of colours to choose from.  You will also need about 50cm of  narrow clear elastic for the tops of the cups

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So lets make a start. The Devonshire Bra is Orange Lingere and is an American Company. If you are from the UK, take care with the measurements here as it uses a plus four basis for pattern sizing. For example, I use a 34B/C in UK sizes so I need to cut out the 38C which actually fits me perfectly in the chest and lower bust. The plus four part doesn't alter the fit in any way - just needs to be remembered when cutting out and preparing your pattern pieces. 

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Find, print and cut out your pieces. There should be 5 in total for the cradle. So that is one centre bridge, 2 x side cradles and 2 x back band pieces. For the cup there should be 2 x inner cups (one main and one lining) and 2 x outer cups (again, one. If you have used a stretch lace or stretch anything really (It doesnt have to be lace) you will need to line each of the cup pieces with a non-stretch cup lining, to ensure that the 'girls' stay firmly where you put them and for it to give you some support. I have had three children, and have far more jiggle than I would like!)

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There is no strict order to any of this, but I like to make up the cup pieces first. 


Take both the outer cups and matching the notches, lie the inner cups onto the seam and pin. Then lie each of these inner and outer cups onto the outer cup lining and pin, and finally - to the bottom of the pile add the inner cups. That way from the top of the pile you will have inner cup (lace), outer cup (lace), outer cup (lining) and inner cup lining. This way once you have completed your seam,  all the sewing remains on the inside and won’t irritate you. 
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Once your cup is complete, open out and top stitch all the material flat with a run of stitches just 2-3 mm away from the original seams. Then you are ready to take your clear elastic. This isn’t essential but I really think makes a big difference to the fit of the top of the cup.


It is literally what it says it is. A narrow clear rubber elastic which runs along the top of the cup just below the lowest point of your lace scallop and helps the fabric to stay tight against your skin. Apply it with a run of zigzag stitches the same width of the elastic and as I sew I put the elastic under slight tension so it pulls back to the fabric. (Much the same as swimwear rubber - if you have used that!) ...... and your cups are finished.

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Now to make up the cradle for your bra. 

This is always a satisfying make, and seems to come together really quickly. The first task is to sew the top of the bridge, right sides to right side. The lining needs to be on the top  with the main lace fabric underneath. Sew with a 0.5cm seam. Then flip open and under sew the seam onto the lining to make sure it all lies flat.

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Close the bridge piece together so it looks like the  front of your bra and tack all the pieces together to prevent it all slipping. 
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Now matching the lace bridge to the lace side cradle, pin in place along with the bridge lining. Then flip over and pin on the lining for the side cradle. Again you should have both lace pieces next to each other and both linings . Sew with a 0.5cm seam, open out and over sew the seams to make it look neat and professional. 

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The next job is to literally do exactly the same but with the back band.

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Don’t forget to top stitch the seams again to keep it all lying flat. Then tack all the edges which might move. You can just pin this but I always think it is easier than continuously stabbing yourself with your pins.  

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Now you just need to repeat this process for the other side, all in exactly the same way. Don’t forget to grade the seams too - it will make everything so much more professional.

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Joining the cups to the cradle.


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Take each cup and work from the centre to the side cradle, that way if you have made any cutting errors it will all be hidden under the arm. (And besides, you can trim it off from there too!) Use plenty of pins, that way you shouldn't need to tack it into place first. 

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Sew around the inside of the cup to a 0.5 cm seam, all the way from the centre front to the side arm, and repeat on the other side, until both cups are joined to the cradle.

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Adding your Pico Elastic
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To sew your first run of pico elastic, ensure your wide decorative pico runs along the botton of your bra. The straight edge facing down, the plush side facing you and the pico's or decorative edge should be pointing towards where your shoulder straps would be, and sew in a narrow three step zigzag

If you get stuck there is a quick walk through on the Youtube link below, but after you have done it once, it will all make a lot more sence. 

 

 

Once you have sewn the first pass of the pico, flip over your work and trim off any excess from the edge of your sewing, that way, when you fold over the pico you won’t see any excess fabric sticking out underneath.

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Turn your bra back so the front side is facing you and sew a second pass of three step zigzag stitches to ensure your pico elastic stays firmly in place. 

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Now you need to repeat this process for the top edge pico. This should be the narrower version of the Pico. This time the pico elastic straight edge lies flat against the underarm side, plush side facing up and the pico or decorative edge, pointing down towards the bottom of the bra. Remember to sew the first pass on the front of the bra - if you do it wrong, like I did here there first time, it takes ages to unpick the three step zigzag stitches. 

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Adding in the plush unwire channeling

Lay your plush wire channeling along the seam for where you have sewn on your cups. Only sew in the seam allowance and take care to remove any band or cup fabric away from where you are sewing. sew as close to the edge of the wire channeling, and it might help to move your needles across too. Sew from the centre of the bra out towards the back band. If you have added your top edge pico, you can sew the wire channel all the way to the top, if not you will need to leave about an inch unsewn, but if you are following this blog I am guessing you will have sewn on the top pico so you are ok to just sew it all the way up.

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Repeat all the way up with the second wire channeling.

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Now you will need to make your second pass. This time sew the other edge of the plush wire channeling flat against the back side of your bra cradle. Pull any fabric flat underneath where you are sewing, and again use a very narrow seam, just barely catching the channeling. Sew from the side of the cradle into the centre, then onto the second cup to repeat, all without taking your needle out. 

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When you turn your bra over to see the front, you should see a lovely line of delicate stiches the width of the plush wire channeling, and now your ready for threading your wires into the wire channeling. The shallower end goes in towards the chest. Once threaded. Oversew the ends and trim off any excess. I also often satin-stitch over the top just to ensure that the wire channeling doesn't fray.

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Adding the straps and finishing your bra

These are the last few bits to getting your bra wearable and are my favourite parts. The Devonshire bra is U backed which means that the straps create the finishing edge for the scoop in the back band.

Measure the length required, now this is one of the bra fitting tips and tricks that make them your own. Because I have a long back and long section from my shoulders to my chest I always  add two inches to the total strap length. This isn't because the pattern isn't good - it is just what I have learnt over time what works for me. You will also notice that my straps are different to the pattern. The proper pattern straps work beautifully, and are made from a non-stretch fabric; but for this version  I wanted more of the happy sunshine yellow straping. My strapping is quite firm too which also helps. I added two inches to this section of the strap which if I remember right asks for 10 inches.

"My cup size generally is smaller, so my chest doesn't weigh too heavy. This strapping is a 10mm strap elastic, which is slightly narrower than normal bra strap (Purely because I loved the elastic so much.) A 12 mm elastic is the standard strap elastic, but again you can customise this to what you personally like and feel comfortable in. The whole point of making your own lingerie, is because the shop bought stuff is just too generic."

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Stupidly here I got too carried away and forgot to take decent photos of this section. To make up the straps for the bottom section with the rings and sliders, I have added a short Youtube video. Just follow the link below.....

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Then simply sew the strap to the right side of the bra facing up. Use a narrow three step zigzag stitch and sew closely to the edge of the elastic. Once you have done the row of stitches, turn over and trim off the excess fabric. If I am making a bra for my wife, I tend to run a second row of stitches over the first one just to ensure the strength remains. (She has a much larger chest than mine which obviously weighs a lot more!)

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Take the second piece of strap elastic and thread it through the ring on the end of the bottom strap and secure with a run a stitches. Remember to thread the elastic from the right side of the loop though to the back or this seam will be visable. Then finally take the strap up and over where the shoulder would be and secure it well to the inside of the cup on the front. 

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Generally I run two rows of stitches and then a very narrow zigzag stitch to satin-stitch over end of the strap elastic where it joins the bra, just to ensure it doesnt fray or rub.

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Finally repeat this  for the other side. 

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Sew on the bra fasteners. Make sure you sew the eyes facing up to you, and the hooks facing down. If it is tricky to visualise, take one of your exsisting bras and take a look at the back. 

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Finishing

This is the best part. Seeing how your gorgeous set looks now it’s had it’s matching bows. I added two smaller bows on the top of the cups where the straps attach, and another one to top the matching pantie. I tend to use a 7mm double sided satin ribbon - I’m old school, I like a good bow. You don’t have too - you can decorate with anything you like really.  

Then all you need to do it take a shower and put on your new gorgeous set and enjoy. 
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Our next blog goes through the self drafted string pantie which I have used here. It is the last of the tiny styles and then we will sew up some full backed bottoms and some boy shorts too. I case you want to look at the patterns, the next bra we are Going to make is the Black Beauty Bra by Emerald Erin. A great bra but maybe best to try once you have had a little practice. 

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Fabric Review: For my lace I used about half, I bought 4 meters and still have over two left. My plan is to add a full back pair too when I get the chance. Elastics for both the strap and the FOE have been half used and the elastics and fingings I have used everything

Shops: The shops used are sewingchest.co.uk for all the elastics, and Esty shops PSFabrics for the Rose Gold Rings and Sliders and BeautifulRibbon1 for the Sunshine yellow ribbon (2meters)  

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The next post will be how to make a self drafted simple string pantie to use up the last of your lace, as a simple and comfy addition to your top draw

While you are planning your next make, or what to put with it, come on over to my instagram page and follow me. It is where I post all my makes and you never know, it might just give you a tiny bit of inspiraiton to make your own.

Just click the link below....

See you all soon